Syrian army captures strategic neighbourhood in Aleppo

Damascus, Dec 12 (IANS) The Syrian army on Monday captured the key neighbourhood of Sheikh Saeed in Aleppo, the latest in a series of victories against the rebels.

Following days of battles, the Syrian army captured Sheikh Saeed, one of the few remaining rebel-held areas in southeastern Aleppo city, Xinhua news agency reported.

The neighbourhood is considered the last defence line for the rebels in Aleppo, and a high ground whose control enables the Syrian army to expose the few remaining neighbourhoods.

Over the past two weeks, the army has captured over 93 per cent of the rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, as part of a major offensive aimed to drive out the rebels from the city.

According to a media report, 87,000 civilians have fled eastern Aleppo over the past two weeks toward government-controlled areas in the western part of the city.

Nearly 3,500 civilians left eastern Aleppo on Monday alone. Some rebels have also surrendered to the army.

As many as 728 rebels surrendered to the army in the past 24 hours in Aleppo, SANA news agency said.

President Bashar al-Assad said the decision for taking all of Aleppo has been taken.

He said the army’s recapture of rebel-held areas in Aleppo will change the course of the battles in Syria.