REBEL fighters in Syria’s eastern Aleppo faced total collapse yesterday after troops captured nearly half the area they occupied, putting large swathes of the northern part of the city under government control for the first time in four years, state media reported.
The Syrian army and its international allies drove the insurgents from Sheikh Fares, Haydariyah and Al-Sakhour districts, along with Qadisia, described as the “key neighborhood of eastern Aleppo.”
Later they took the Scientific Research Housing area north-west of the city’s airport.
The Russian military ceasefire monitoring centre in Latakia province said the army had captured a total of 12 districts — 40-45 per cent of the area under rebel control a few weeks ago — in the previous 48 hours.
Fighting continued yesterday evening, while bomb disposal experts removed mines and booby-traps from the captured districts.
It said 3,179 people — including 1,519 children, of who 138 were babies — had been rescued and taken to government-controlled areas in buses..
Kurdish separatist YPG commander Ahmad Araj claimed 8,000 people had also fled to the Kurdish-controlled Sheikh Maqsoud district.
A member of the Medical Council in Aleppo, Mohammad Zein Khandaqani told the Associated Press that although many people had fled to the Kurdish areas of the city, many had stayed behind because they were wanted by the state and feared being caught.
He spoke of the state of the residents: “It is stinging cold, food is scarce and people are shaken in the streets.”
The YPG said six civilians were killed in Sheikh Maqsoud by insurgent shelling. The Sana news agency reported one child was killed on Sunday by shelling on the government-held west of the city.