Syrian government forces have retaken six formerly rebel-held districts of the city of Aleppo, effectively dividing the remaining rebel-held eastern parts of the city into two separate areas and forcing thousands of civilians to flee.
Syrian state television announced on November 28 that government and allied forces had captured the Sakhur, Haydariya, and Sheikh Khodr neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city.
The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the reports, saying saying rebels who are fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's forces have lost about one-third of the territory in eastern Aleppo that they controlled just a few days ago.
"It is the biggest defeat for the opposition in Aleppo since 2012," observatory head Rami Abdulrahman said.
Earlier, the observatory said government forces were "in control of most of the northern part" of Aleppo. At least 10,000 civilians had fled the city on the night of November 26-27, monitors said.
Controlling Sakhur means that government forces have effectively cut the rebel-held part of the city in two.
Aleppo has been divided in two since 2012, with the government controlling the west and rebels the east.
Capturing all of the city would be a major victory for Assad after 5 1/2 years of fighting.