Tuesday (13 December) saw the fleeing of thousands of people from Aleppo as the Syrian military advanced on the final pocket of rebel resistance. Although the battle has ended, the full evacuation has been delayed, perhaps, until Thursday. The United Nations human rights office claimed of having reports of abuses, notably one accusing the army and allied Iraqi militiamen of killing at least 82 civilians in captured city districts.
International efforts to negotiate an end to the fighting in Aleppo have been fruitless as Russia and the United States have exchanged accusations over hitches in ceasefire talks. At this point, impending surrender of the rebels in Aleppo would mean the end of the rebellion in the city. Aleppo will be the most significant victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military coalition of his forces, the Russian air power and Tehran-backed militias. Though Aleppo's loss will deprive the rebels of any significant presence in Syria's main cities, they are said to still occupy much of the countryside.
The Islamic State has also advanced in recent days, taking over the desert city of Palmyra. A senior military official told Reuters that the rebels were fleeing "in a state of panic". On the other hand, a Turkish-based official with the Jabha Shamiya insurgent group in Aleppo said that they had established a new frontline. The International Committee for the Red Cross appealed for all sides to spare civilian lives.
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