- Title: Heavy shelling in Aleppo as Syrian army in final advance
- Date: 12th December 2016
- Summary: ALEPPO, SYRIA (DECEMBER 12, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SMOKE RISING FROM BUSTAN AL-QASER, EASTERN ALEPPO SMOKE ABOVE BUSTAN AL-QASER (AUDIO OF EXPLOSIONS) SMOKE RISING FROM BUSTAN AL-QASER (AUDIO OF EXPLOSION)/ PLUME OF SMOKE PLUME OF SMOKE SMOKE ABOVE BUSTAN AL-QASER (AUDIO OF EXPLOSIONS) EXPLOSION IN A BUILDING/ PLUME OF SMOKE (AUDIO OF EXPLOSION) SMOKE COMING FROM A BUILDING SMOKE ABOVE BUSTAN AL-QASER (AUDIO OF EXPLOSION) SMOKE OVER THE CITY/ PLUME OF SMOKE (AUDIO OF EXPLOSION AND AIRCRAFT) PLUME OF SMOKE
- Embargoed: 27th December 2016 14:53
- Keywords: Aleppo Syrai Syrian army bombardment explosions
- Location: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- City: ALEPPO, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Reuters ID: LVA0015CKX9VR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The district of Bustan al-Qaser, eastern Aleppo was under heavy shelling on Monday (December 12) as the Syrian army and its allies pushed forward in the "final stages" of recapturing the city.
A Reuters journalist in the government-held zone said the bombardment of rebel areas had continued non-stop overnight, and a civilian trapped there described the situation there as resembling Doomsday.
Reuters videos filmed from a hotel room in western Aleppo, showed smoke rising from different parts of Bustan al-Qaser and sounds of warplanes and explosions were heard.
Rebels withdrew from all districts on the east side of the Aleppo River after losing Sheikh Saeed in the south of their pocket in overnight fighting, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor said.
It meant their rapidly diminishing enclave had halved in only a few hours and Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman described the battle for Aleppo as having reached its end.
The Syrian army is backed by Russian war planes and Lebanese and Iraqi Shi'ite militias supported by Iran. Its advances on Monday were aided by a militia of Palestinian refugees in Syria, the Liwa al-Quds or Jerusalem Brigade, a Syrian army general said.
The mostly Sunni rebels include groups backed by the United States, Turkey and Gulf monarchies as well as hardline jihadists who are not supported by the West.
While Aleppo's fall would deal a stunning blow to rebels trying to remove Assad from power, he would still be far from restoring control across Syria. Swathes of the country remain in rebel hands, and on Sunday (December 11) Islamic State retook Palmyra.
Tens of thousands of civilians remain in rebel-held areas, hemmed in by ever-changing front lines, pounded by air strikes and shelling, and without basic supplies, according to the Observatory.
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