More than 400 Syrian civilians have fled rebel-held districts of eastern Aleppo for the government-controlled west as regime forces advance in the city, a monitor said on Sunday. The civilians fled overnight to the Masaken Hanano district and were taken to regime-controlled areas, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
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Syrian state media said government forces had on Saturday captured Masaken Hanano, the largest rebel-held district of Aleppo, in what would be a major breakthrough in the regime’s offensive to retake the entire city. Fresh fighting broke out on Saturday night between regime forces and rebel groups in the neighbouring districts of Haidariya and Sakhur, said the Observatory.
Regime forces targeted the area with heavy shelling, said the Britain-based monitoring group. Pro-government media hailed the “success” of the government forces, reporting that they continued their advance on Sunday.
On Saturday, at least 18 civilians were killed in regime raids and artillery fire in several districts of Aleppo, said the monitor. It took to 219 the overall number of civilians killed, including 27 children, since the government launched the assault on rebel-held east Aleppo on November 15.
The rebels meanwhile intensified rocket attacks on the western districts overnight, killing at least four civilians and wounding dozens, Observatory said. Such attacks have killed a total of 27 civilians since the offensive began, among them 11 children.