Syrian Army captures swathes of land from IS in Aleppo
Damascus, Nov 25 (IANS) The Syrian Army has captured swathes of the largest rebel-held district in Aleppo over the past 24 hours, a monitor group reported on Friday.
Battles, accompanied by intense shelling, have raged since midnight on Thursday between the government forces and an array of rebel groups in Masaken Hanano, the largest rebel-held district in eastern Aleppo, Xinhua news agency cited the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.
The UK-based watchdog said Syrian forces captured over 60 per cent of the neighbourhood, which was also the first area stormed by rebels in eastern Aleppo in mid-2012.
Observers said capturing the Hanano area will expose the Sakhour neighbourhood to the Syrian Army, enabling it to isolate the northern part of the rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo from the southern one.
The observatory, which relies on a network of activists on ground, said the Syrian forces were achieving rapid progress in eastern Aleppo, where over 250,000 civilians are trapped.
For months, the Syrian government and Russia have been urging rebels to leave Aleppo, offering them safe passages to other rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.
The rebels, however, turned down all offers, which has resulted in intensified violence.