11 December 2016

Syria, Russia pound rebel-held Aleppo but advances halt

Syrian government forces lose control of most of Palmyra as ISIS re-enters the ancient city

Syria's military and Russian warplanes bombarded rebel-held districts of Aleppo on Saturday as Damascus's allies said victory was near, but insurgents fought back and army advances halted after rapid gains during the week.

The United States said it was meeting a Russian team in Geneva to find a way to save lives, but an agreement looked elusive as the two countries, which back opposing sides, have repeatedly failed to strike a deal to allow evacuations and help aid deliveries.

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Russia, whose military intervention helped turn the war in President Bashar al-Assad's favour, said the Syrian government now controls 93 per cent of Aleppo, a figure Reuters could not independently verify.