Syrian forces enter eastern Aleppo to take key district

Author

27 November, 2016

Britain based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has also said the rebels have prevented dozens of families from leaving the east Aleppo.

The move to western Aleppo came after troops retook Hanano district, the largest controlled by the rebels.

The capture on Saturday of Masaken Hanano - which had been the biggest rebel-held district of Aleppo - was a major breakthrough in a 13-day regime offensive to retake the entire city.

The troops' gains in the key neighborhood of Masaken Hanano were backed by regime airstrikes and mark the first time that government forces have taken a significant part of eastern Aleppo since rebels seized the area more than four years ago.

Syrian regime forces say they have captured the largest opposition-held district in southeastern Aleppo after fierce fighting, but rebels are disputing this, saying that the battle is ongoing. "There was an escalation in the evening, with successive bombardments", Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, adding that many people were trapped under rubble.

The four-point plan involves the supply of medical and food aid, the evacuation of 200 wounded or disabled civilians, and medical staff to rotate in and out of besieged areas.

With winter setting in, shortages of food, medicine and fuel coupled with intense air strikes and artillery bombardment are testing the limits of endurance among a population the United Nations estimates at 270,000 people.

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Fifteen people were killed during air strikes and shelling of government forces on two villages west of Aleppo.

Retaliatory rocket fire by the rebels has killed 18 civilians in the government-held west, 10 of them children, the Observatory reported.

At least 49 civilians have been killed in regime bombardment on the rebel stronghold since November 17, nearly half of them children, said the Observatory.

But Damascus has yet to agree, and additional guarantees are needed from regime ally Moscow, UN officials say.

Once a commercial and industrial hub, Aleppo has seen some of the worst fighting in Syria's five-and-a-half-year war.

The Turkish army is backing the Syrian fighters in an unprecedented cross-border operation it says is targeting both IS and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, which it considers to be a "terrorist" group.

On Sunday, the Turkish army said that 22 pro-Ankara Syrian rebels were hit by a chemical gas attack from Islamic State group jihadists in northern Syria.


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