Syrian rebel forces in Aleppo suffer ‘biggest defeat since 2012’

Rebel forces in Aleppo have lost control of a key district that threatens to split the remaining opposition-held area in two, according to activists.

The Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights said pro-government forces
seized the strategic Sakhour district in a wider advance that in recent days has driven rebels from a third of the areas they held.

One rebel official denied the report that Sakhour had fallen, an advance that would cut the rebel-held eastern districts of Aleppo in two, while another said the situation was not yet clear.

“It is the biggest defeat for the
opposition in Aleppo since 2012,” Rami Abdulrahman, the observatory’s director, said. “The opposition has lost more than a third of the area it controlled in Aleppo city during the big advance.”

In a major breakthrough in their push to retake the city, troops supporting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, captured the Masaken Hanano and Jabal Badra districts over the weekend, driving a wedge through the middle of
the rebel-held enclave in the east of the city.

A fighter on the government side in
Aleppo said it had left a small corridor for rebels to leave the northern part for the south. “In the coming hours, the rest of the northern sector will be taken,” he
told Reuters.

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