Syrian rebels vowed to continue fighting against regime advances in east Aleppo that had imposed a brutal and catastrophic humanitarian disaster against rebel families over the last six months.
Gains by the pro-regime forces since last week have brought a whole districts back under regime authority and led to a human exodus as thousands have fled their pulverized neighborhoods near the rapidly shifting front lines.
With the rebels now reduced to an area just kilometers across, France has called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council for later on Wednesday to discuss the city’s burgeoning humanitarian crisis.
Regime forces were fought off Sheikh Saeed district in the south of the city on Wednesday. Rebels said that the regime’s advance had been repelled. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group, said the insurgents have successfully secured a third of Sheikh Saeed.
The Observatory reported that regime forces were detaining and questioning hundreds of those fleeing rebel-held areas for the comparative safety of regime-controlled districts.
In their attack on Wednesday, regime forces stepped up the use of air strikes, including in Aleppo’s Old City, according to a rebel official. Rescue workers in eastern Aleppo said 45 people were killed in an artillery bombardment.
In the six years of ongoing civil war, gradual advances for Syrian regime head Bashar al-Assad were frequently backed by Russia, Iran and Shi’ite militias.
Russia, Assad’s most powerful international ally whose air force has pounded rebels for more than a year, said it hoped the Aleppo situation could be resolved by the end of the year. Rebels in the city have vowed no surrender.