• Syrian army seizes major Aleppo district


    BEIRUT: Syria’s army seized a major district on Aleppo’s southeastern edges on Monday, putting it in control of 90 percent of areas once held by rebels in the city, a monitor said.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad seized the Sheikh Saeed district early Monday after fierce clashes ongoing since the previous afternoon.

    “The army is now in full control of Sheikh Saeed,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France-Presse.

    “Syrian regime forces are now in control of 90 percent” of the one-time rebel areas in Aleppo’s east, he said.

    Syria’s second city, Aleppo had been divided since 2012 between government forces in the west and rebel groups in the east.

    In less than a month, a blistering offensive by Syria’s army and allied militia has overrun most of rebel territory in the city.

    Air strikes pounded the remaining opposition-controlled districts of Aleppo through the night and into the early morning of Monday, the Britain-based Observatory said.

    At least 413 civilians have been killed in east Aleppo since the offensive began on November 15, the Observatory said, and 139 killed in rebel rocket fire on the city’s west.

    And more than 300,000 people have been killed since Syria’s conflict first erupted in March 2011.

    More than 10,000 civilians have fled eastern parts of Aleppo in the past 24 hours for districts of the city under the control of Syria’s government, the monitor said also on Monday.

    It takes to about 130,000 the number of civilians displaced since regime forces launched an offensive to retake the rebel-held east in mid-November, it added.



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