DAMASCUS, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) — The Syrian army and allied fighters captured the key neighborhood of Sheikh Saeed in the northern city of Aleppo on Monday, the latest in a series of victories against the rebels, state news agency SANA reported.
Following days of battles, the Syrian army finally captured Sheikh Saeed, one of the few remaining rebel-held areas in southeastern Aleppo city.
The neighborhood is considered the last defense line for the rebels in southeastern Aleppo, and a high ground, whose control enables the Syrian army to expose the few remaining neighborhoods.
Over the past two weeks, the Syrian army has captured over 93 percent of the rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, as part of a major offensive aimed to drive out the rebels from Aleppo city.
Pro-government Ekhbariyeh TV said the rebels are in control now of only seven square km of southeastern Aleppo.
The report said 87,000 civilians have fled eastern Aleppo over the past two weeks toward government-controlled areas in the western part of the city.
Nearly 3,500 civilians left eastern Aleppo on Monday alone.
Some rebels have also surrendered to the Syrian army in Aleppo.
As many as 728 rebels surrendered to the army in the past 24 hours in Aleppo, SANA said.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the decision for taking all of Aleppo has been taken, adding that the army’s recapture of rebel-held areas in Aleppo will change the course of the battles in Syria.