Aleppo // Syrian government forces have recaptured half of rebel-held territory in Aleppo since launching an offensive in mid-November, a monitoring group said on Friday.

General Samir Sulaiman told the BBC he hoped all of Aleppo would be in government hands within weeks.

He was speaking a day after the army seized another district, Tariq al-Bab, from the rebels opposing President Bashar al-Assad.

Swathes of east Aleppo held by rebels have been seized by government troops and militiamen in the past three weeks.

Earlier reports on Saturday had suggested as much as two thirds of the rebel-held area had been recaptured.

Some 250,000 people remain trapped in besieged areas of the city.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced. The United Nations this week said conditions in east Aleppo were now so dire that medical operations were being conducted without anaesthetics.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tariq al-Bab had been recaptured, more than four years after falling into rebel hands.

Clashes in the district left tens of fighters on both sides killed or injured, it said.

At least 300 people have been killed since the government-led offensive on east Aleppo.

Thousands of people fled Tariq al-Bab into neighbouring areas as fighting intensified.

Earlier this week, Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s humanitarian affairs chief, said besieged areas of the city risked becoming “one giant graveyard”.

He said some people inside opposition-controlled areas were so hungry they were reduced to scavenging.

On Thursday, Russia, which supports President Bashar al-Assad’s government, indicated it was ready to discuss opening four safe corridors for humanitarian access.

Aleppo was once Syria’s largest city and its commercial and industrial hub before the uprising against the president began in 2011.

It has been divided in roughly two for the past four years. But in the past 11 months, Syrian troops have broken the deadlock with the help of Iranian-backed militias and Russian air strikes.

In early September they reinstated a siege of the east, and launched a large-scale offensive later that month to retake full control of the city.

The Syrian Observatory estimated more than 300 civilians had been killed in rebel-held districts since the offensive was stepped up in mid-November.

1 COMMENT

  1. Good! Rebels are not the victims, and I wish more people in the US knew the truth. May all of Syria be taken back by the Syrian Army soon . Prayers for Syria.

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