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Aleppo battle: Syria rebels ‘withdraw from old city’


International Live: Activist monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the pull-back in Syria’s second city came after days of heavy fighting. State media confirmed the military had taken over the whole of the old city.

Government forces now control about 75% of eastern Aleppo, held by the rebels for the past four years.

The rebels, who had been left with just a spit of land north-east of the citadel after recent government advances, abandoned it by Wednesday morning, retreating to territory they still hold further south.

In a separate development, Syrian state news agency Sana reported that several Israeli missiles struck the Mazzeh military air base outside the capital Damascus overnight, causing a fire but no casualties.

At least 15 people were killed in government bombardments on Tuesday. it added. Tens of thousands of civilians are still trapped in the last of the rebel-held districts.

The BBC’s Lyse Doucet in Aleppo says officials there are preparing for another exodus, as families try to flee under fire in an extremely dire situation.

A statement by the rebel Aleppo Leadership Council said civilians were in great danger, and it would support any initiative to ease their suffering.

“Civilians should be either protected or evacuated to a safe area where they will not be under the mercy of [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad and his henchmen,” it said.

Dhaka, 7 Dec. ( // IH

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