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What Syrian Rebels Have Held for Years Is Now Mostly Lost

Government now controls about three-fourths of eastern Aleppo
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 7, 2016 9:33 AM CST

(Newser) – Syrian government troops and allied militiamen seized more ground in Aleppo's ancient quarters on Wednesday. With the latest gains, the endgame for Syria's largest city, which has been carved up between the government and the rebel side for the past four years, appeared to draw even closer. If Aleppo—Syria's former commercial hub—is captured by government troops (backed by Russia and thousands of Iranian-backed Shiite fighters), it would be a turning point in the conflict, putting the four largest cities in Syria and the coastal region back under state control. The army media said the new gains bring the area controlled by the government in eastern Aleppo to about 73% of its original size, which is estimated to be about 17 square miles, reports the AP. More:

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  • Reuters reports the rebels on Wednesday called for a five-day ceasefire to allow civilians and the wounded exit. But their statement didn't address the Syrian and Russian demand that they withdraw.
  • CNN spoke with an activist who says up to 200,000 have essentially been herded into the 10 rebel-held neighborhoods that remain. They lack a safe way out, and food, gas, and medical supplies are depleted.
  • It's not the only cry for a ceasefire. President Obama has issued such a demand in concert with the leaders of Britain, Germany, Italy, France, and Canada; they want UN aid to be able to gain entry to eastern Aleppo, reports the AP. Reuters reports that on Monday, a UN Security Council resolution that would have established a week-long ceasefire was vetoed by China and Russia, with the latter saying it would just give the rebels time to strengthen.
(Read more Aleppo stories.)

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