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    Smoke rises near Bustan al-Qasr crossing point in a government controlled area, during clashes with rebels in Aleppo, Syria December 5, 2016

    Over 80,000 Civilians Left East Aleppo Since Beginning of Syrian Army Operation

    © REUTERS / Omar Sanadiki
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    More than 80,000 people left eastern Aleppo since the beginning of the Syrian army military operation in November to recapture the city from militants, a militia representative said Wednesday.

    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, reports emerged, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London, that at least 80,000 people fled eastern Aleppo since the beginning of the operation.

    "In reality, the figure is much higher. Today, the military and militia control all the historical sector of Aleppo, remnants of armed groups left their firing zones and fled to the southern districts [of Aleppo]. Now the adversary is holding territory of no more than 10-12 square kilometers [4-6 square miles]," the representative told RIA Novosti.

    Over the weekend, the Syrian army, backed by local militia, took over a number of districts in eastern Aleppo, including Helwaniyeh neighborhood, and is leading the offensive further, after militants refused to surrender and leave the city peacefully.

    Aleppo became major battleground in Syria over recent months, engaging government forces, jihadists, and numerous opposition groups. Eastern Aleppo is currently encircled by government troops, and the fighting has affected thousands of civilians still trapped in the city. Previous internationally mediated ceasefires have collapsed as militants continued attacks and opposition failed to expel the al-Nusra Front, which is now known as Jabhat Fatah al Sham and outlawed in Russia, from the city.

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    Tags:
    Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Al-Nusra Front, Syrian Army, Aleppo
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