Syrian government forces retake old Aleppo city from rebels

People that came back to inspect their homes walk near goverment soldiers in goverment controlled Hanono housing district in Aleppo, Syria December 4, 2016. Reuters/Omar Sanadiki

BBC – Syrian rebels have left the last areas they held in Aleppo’s old city, an activist monitoring group has said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the pull-back came after days of heavy fighting, as government forces moved to split the remains of the rebel enclave in Syria’s second city.

The rebels have held the area around the ancient citadel for four years.

The Syrian military now holds more than two-thirds of eastern Aleppo and is seeking to control the whole city.
Tens of thousands of civilians are still trapped in the last of the rebel-held districts.

The BBC’s Lyse Doucet in Aleppo says officials there are preparing for another exodus, as families try to flee under fire in an extremely dire situation.

Food supplies are exhausted and there are no functioning hospitals after months of heavy bombardment.

Meanwhile the Russian defence ministry reported that a Russian military adviser in Syria had been killed by rebel artillery fire.

Col Ruslan Galitsky died of his wounds after the attack, on a residential area of government-held western Aleppo, it said.

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