Government closes in as rebels flee Aleppo
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.