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French FM calls for UN summit on Aleppo fighting

Civilians were also fleeing south to the remaining districts held by the rebels, arriving with little more than the clothes they were wearing, an AFP correspondent said.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 10 had died, while the Syrian Civil Defence – known as the White Helmets – put the number at upwards of 25.”The rebels have lost at least 30 percent of the territory they once controlled in Aleppo”, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.Up to 16,000 civilians have fled strife-torn parts of eastern Aleppo, as rebels lose all of the northern neighbourhoods of their stronghold.What are the latest developments?Kurdish-led forces operating autonomously of the rebels and the government meanwhile seized the Bustan al-Basha neighborhood, allowing thousands of civilians to flee the decimated district to the predominantly Kurdish Sheikh Maqsoud, in the city’s north, according to Ahmad Hiso Araj, an official with the Syrian Democratic Forces.Syria’s Al-Watan daily, which is close to the government, said the next stage of the operation would be “to divide the remaining (rebel-held) area into. districts that will be easily controlled and to capture them successively”.On the ground, residents expressed despair and uncertainty for the future, after months of food shortages and heavy government strikes.What has happened to the people who live there?Syrian state media also reported that the Haydariya and Sakhour districts had been taken as it showed looped footage of some of the thousands of civilians fleeing parts of the city affected by fighting.”They don’t let people go”, one man said, according to an RT report.”The problem today, in this moment, is not water and food”, he said, at one point choking with tears. “We are deeply concerned about the impact of the fighting on the civilian population in Aleppo”.”It is the biggest defeat for the opposition in Aleppo since 2012″, he told Reuters.”Under heavy bombardments now. We are fighting for our lives”.”Half of the territory previously held by the militants in eastern Aleppo has been de facto liberated”, Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the defense ministry, said.He also highlighted deaths and injuries resulting from mortar and rocket attacks from rebel-held areas into western Aleppo.A military news service run by Hizbollah declared the northern portion of eastern Aleppo was now under government control.Ever since it joined the uprising four years ago, eastern Aleppo tried to make itself a model for a Syria without Assad.Russian Federation says it is not involved in the current offensive in Aleppo, concentrating its strikes instead on rebel and jihadist forces in the northwestern Idlib and central Homs provinces.Syrians who evacuated the eastern districts of Aleppo are gathered, in a government-held area in Aleppo, Syria in this handout picture provided by SANA on November 27, 2016.The center said that it deployed additional 150 field kitchens to distribute meals to civilians leaving the city.Why is Russian Federation engaged in Aleppo?More than 508 civilians have been killed and 1,871 others injured since mid-November in regime and allies attacks on Aleppo – once Syria’s second-largest city.With the help of Russian military airstrikes and Iranian and Hezbollah ground forces, the Syrian Army offensives have steadily made progress surrounding rebel forces.”The rebels suddenly find themselves without the external support that they have relied on”. After years of gruelling attritional combat the regular Syrian army, despite new arms supplies from Moscow, is a shadow of its former self. At present, and as part of a simultaneous policy of rehabilitating and rebuilding the affected regions, the Syrian Government has established a program of assistance for displaced persons and evacuees.This has cemented Iran’s key role in the conflict, which may have consequences in the future.

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