Gov­ern­ment closes in as rebels flee Aleppo

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

BEIRUT | Syr­ian rebels re­treated from for­mer strongholds in east­ern Aleppo in a “ter­ri­fy­ing” col­lapse Mon­day, hold­ing onto a small sliver of ter­ri­tory packed with fight­ers and thou­sands of civil­ians as gov­ern­ment troops pressed on with their rapid ad­vance.

The Syr­ian mil­i­tary said it had gained con­trol of 99 per­cent of the for­mer op­po­si­tion en­clave in east­ern Aleppo, sig­nal­ing an im­pend­ing end to the rebels’ four-year hold over parts of the city as the fi­nal hours of bat­tle played out.

Re­tak­ing Aleppo, which has been di­vided be­tween rebel- and gov­ern­ment-con­trolled zones since 2012, would be Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad’s big­gest vic­tory yet in the coun­try’s civil war. But it does not end the con­flict: Sig­nif­i­cant parts of Syria are still out­side gov­ern­ment con­trol, and huge swaths of the coun­try are a dev­as­tated waste­land.

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