Rebels’ hold on east­ern Aleppo col­lapses as troops move in

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OBITUARIES -

BEIRUT >>

Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces cap­tured more than a third of op­po­si­tion-held east­ern Aleppo on Mon­day, touch­ing off a wave of panic and flight from the be­sieged enclave as rebel de­fenses in the coun­try’s largest city rapidly col­lapsed.

The dra­matic gains marked an in­flec­tion point in Syria’s nearly 6-year-old con­flict, threat­en­ing to dis­lodge armed op­po­nents of Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad from their last ma­jor ur­ban strong­hold.

Re­claim­ing all of Aleppo, Syria’s for­mer com­mer­cial cap­i­tal, would be the biggest prize of the war for As­sad. It would put his forces in con­trol of the coun­try’s four largest cities as well as the coastal re­gion, and cap a year of steady gov­ern­ment ad­vances.

It also would bol­ster his po­si­tion and mo­men­tum just as a new U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion is tak­ing hold, free­ing thou­sands of his troops and al­lied mili­ti­a­men to move on to other bat­tles around the coun­try.

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