Syria forces take third of rebel-held Aleppo, civilians flee

Thousands flee Syria regime advance into east Aleppo

Tens of thousands of Aleppo residents who reside in the city's eastern neighborhoods are being driven westward in order to escape the brutal assault by Syrian government forces.

Mr Assad's regime has in recent months been pressing a series of offensives to seize control of the devastated city's east, which has been in rebel hands since 2012.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, said about 400 people travelled into government-controlled Hanano from neighbouring rebel-held districts, from where some were transferred to government-held western Aleppo.

Government forces have reportedly retaken control of three key districts in rebel-held eastern Aleppo in two days.

The Russian Defense Ministry says Syrian government troops have taken control over almost half of the rebel-held Syrian city of Aleppo in a new offensive.

He said although thousands of people have fled to government or Kurdish-controlled areas in Aleppo, many stayed because they are wanted by the state and fear being caught if they leave. Some have gone to the Kurdish-held Sheikh Maqsoud district, others have gone over to government territory, and others have moved deeper into remaining rebel-held areas.

Russian news agencies, citing the Defence Ministry, said on Sunday more than 900 civilians, including 119 children, had left Jabal Badro in the last 24 hours.

Masaken Hanao was the first district the rebels captured when they launched their Aleppo offensive in 2012.

"The aim is to push these (rebel) groups towards a scenario like in Homs", Abu Abdallah says, referring to Syria's third city where rebels were defeated in 2014 after two years of regime siege and bombardment.

People in southern neighbourhoods were donating blankets and other items to the new arrivals, who travelled on foot, exhausted, cold and hungry.

People are also being displaced internally within east Aleppo.

"We are deeply concerned about the impact of the fighting on the civilian population in Aleppo", he told AFP.

United Nations officials say at least 250,000 people are under siege in the east.

"It was one of the first cities to be taken by the armed opposition", he adds. Guarantees are also needed from regime ally Russian Federation.

"Today we're fighting armies and militias from every corner of the globe".

The residents crossed into the Hanano district in the north of the enclave, which came under full government control the previous day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Aleppo's Civil Defence group of rescue workers operating in rebel areas said the only fuel it had left was what remained in its vehicles and equipment.

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