Russian Federation says Aleppo combat stopped after rebels cornered, civilians disagree

Russian Federation says Aleppo combat stopped after rebels cornered, civilians disagree

Russian Federation says Aleppo combat stopped after rebels cornered, civilians disagree

Deeply divided since 2012 between Syrian government and rebel-controlled areas, more than three quarters of the rebel section have now fallen under the government's control, including the symbolically important ancient Aleppo quarters.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said the USA was focused on de-escalating the violence in Aleppo to allow aid into the city and enable people wishing to stay in their homes to do so.

"It's been a tragedy here for a long time, but I've never seen this kind of pressure on the city - you can't rest for even five minutes, the bombardment is constant", a resident said.

A military source told Reuters: "Until now 32 neighborhoods have been liberated out of an original 40 in east Aleppo".

With hospitals, clinics, water and food supplies cut off, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon called the situation heartbreaking.

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed that retaking Aleppo would change the course of the six-year-old war.

He said that while a victory by Syrian government forces in the battle for Aleppo would be a "big gain", it will not end the country's civil war.

The scale of death and destruction, and lack of access has made it hard for humanitarian organizations to reach hundreds of thousands of besieged people in Syria.

Dozens of people have been killed daily in the strikes and crossfire between the regime and rebels since the Syrian forces began their push into eastern Aleppo on November 26, activist groups said. He described the city as the "last hope" of rebels and their backers. A rebel defeat in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and former commercial center, is likely to reverberate across the war-torn country, where opposition forces continue to hold out in smaller, more disconnected areas. Washington said it had no confirmation that the army had ceased fire. More neighborhoods were expected to fall but rebels were fighting ferociously. The agency called on all warring sides to allow a humanitarian pause to be able to deliver aid supplies in the besieged sector which has been inaccessible since April.

Damascus and Moscow have been calling on rebels to withdraw from the city, disarm and accept safe passage out, a procedure that has been carried out in other areas where rebels abandoned besieged territory in recent months.

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US Secretary of State John Kerry says he's "hopeful" about reaching an agreement, but is awaiting "certain feedback and input" from Moscow.

State TV said the troops were about to storm the two districts.

Kerry met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov twice Thursday morning in Hamburg, Germany during an global conference.

A USA state department spokeswoman confirmed Mr Lavrov had spoken to John Kerry and both had agreed to discuss a ceasefire that allows for the delivery of aid and the departure of civilians, but the specific nature of tomorrow's technical talks are still to be worked out.

Russian Federation and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on Monday calling for a week-long ceasefire.

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