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Rebels withdraw from old city of Syria's Aleppo

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-07 09:40

Rebels withdraw from old city of Syria's Aleppo

A Russian soldier inspects the damage at a field hospital that was reportedly destroyed by rebel shelling on December 5, 2016 in the Furqan neighbourhood of the government-held side of west Aleppo. [Photo/Agencies]

DAMASCUS -- The rebels on Tuesday withdrew from the old part of Aleppo city in northern Syria, amid a state of confusion in the eastern part of the city, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported.

The rebels withdrew from the ancient part of the city toward the southeastern neighborhoods, which are still under the rebels' control in the city, said the report.

Citing military sources, the report said the collapse in the ranks of the rebels in the old city of Aleppo comes after the Syrian army stormed on Tuesday the al-Sha'ar neighborhood, the main stronghold for the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in the rebel-held part east of Aleppo.

Capturing al-Sha'ar put the Syrian army close to the rebel-held part of the ancient citadel of Aleppo and the old city as a whole, as the citadel is divided between the rebels and the government.

It added that the rebels evacuated the northern part of Aleppo citadel amid a rapid military advance in the rebel-held part in eastern Aleppo.

Rida al-Basha, a Aleppo-based journalist, said the rebels withdrawal from the historic part of Aleppo city was expected.

He noted that civilians started leaving the old city after the withdrawal of the rebels, adding that six buses left old Aleppo overnight.

An eye witness in Aleppo told Xinhua over the phone that celebratory gunshots reverberated across the government-controlled parts west of Aleppo on Tuesday evening as a result of the rebel withdrawal from the old city.

Following a two-week long major offensive, the Syrian army has become in control of over two thirds of the rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, as part of major offensive launched recently to liberate the eastern part of the city from any rebel presence.

Over 30,000 civilians have fled eastern Aleppo over the past two weeks toward government-controlled areas in the western part of the city.

The Syrian army says it will press on with the operation until all rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo are recaptured. The rebels captured eastern Aleppo in 2012, and the government forces recently imposed a siege on that area before unleashing a broad offensive for its recapture.

Humanitarian organizations sounded the alarm about the situation of 250,000 people living in eastern Aleppo, with the government promising to fix the situation of those relocated in government-controlled areas.

 

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