Assad says Aleppo win 'huge step' towards end of Syria war

Syrian residents fleeing the violence in the eastern rebel-held parts of Aleppo evacuate from their neighbourhoods through the Bab al-Hadid district after it was seized by the government forces, on December 7, 2016President Bashar al-Assad said victory in Aleppo would be a “huge step” towards ending Syria’s five-year civil war, ignoring pleas for a truce as rebels in the city lose more ground. In a blistering three-week offensive, Syrian government forces have seized about 80 percent of east Aleppo, a stronghold for rebel groups since 2012, with increasingly cornered opposition factions calling for an “immediate five-day humanitarian ceasefire”. US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov were set to meet Thursday in Germany’s Hamburg after talks the previous day failed to achieve a breakthrough on efforts to halt the fighting in the devastated city.

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