October 6, 2016 / 9:30 AM / in 10 months

Syrian government forces seize half of rebel-held quarter in Aleppo - monitor

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Smoke rises from Bustan al-Basha neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, October 5, 2016.Abdalrhman Ismail

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government forces seized around half of a key opposition-held neighbourhood in Aleppo on Thursday in a new advance against rebels, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

The British-based Observatory said fighting had been raging in the residential Bustan al-Basha quarter near the city centre, one of the front lines in Aleppo which has been divided for years between government and opposition areas of control.

The Syrian military also said in a statement that its forces had advanced in Bustan al-Basha.

Government forces have with the use of heavy aerial bombardment encircled Aleppo's rebel-held eastern sector in recent weeks and are seeking to completely recapture the city.

Rebel officials could not be reached immediately for comment on the reported government advances.

Reporting by John Davison

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