Syrian Government Forces Are About to Deal a Crushing Blow to Rebels

Syrian opposition attacks positions of the Assad regime forces near the Beyanun village of Aleppo, Syria, on November 27, 2016. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Syrian army is on the verge of reclaiming Aleppo, a victory that could change the course of the long and bloody five-year civil war. On Monday, Syrian forces — loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, and supported by Russia and Iranian-backed militias — retook rebel-held territories in northeastern Aleppo, seizing ten neighborhoods that were among the first to resist Assad at the start of the conflict, in 2012.

Syrian displaced families gather at a makeshift camp on November 27, 2016, in the government-held district of Jibreen, in Aleppo, as civilians have fled the eastern part of the city in the past 24 hours as regime forces advance against rebel-held districts. Photo: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images

The Syrian army has now chopped off a third of the rebels’ territory after nearly two weeks of intense fighting and Russian air strikes, and now controls almost all of northern Aleppo, reports the Washington Post. Rebels have now ceded more than 40 percent of their territory.

Syrians wounded due to clashes at the north of the Aleppo, receive treatment at the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) decontamination unit beforebeing dispatched to Gaziantep Hospital on November 28, 2016, in Kilis, Turkey. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

As rebels surrendered, nearly 10,000 civilians fled to government- or Kurdish-controlled safe zones; others made their way to the south, where rebels retain control. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 225 civilians, including children, have been killed in the government siege of Aleppo. More than 1,000 are believed to have been wounded. (Rebels, who are firing back on government-held territories, have also inflicted an estimated 27 civilian casualties.) About a quarter-million Aleppo civilians are caught in the crossfire as the government makes its final push; they lack food, water, and adequate medical care because air strikes have destroyed or ruined parts of the last functioning hospitals.

Syrian Forces Are About to Deal a Huge Blow to Rebels