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More than 400 civilians flee east Aleppo: activists

More than 400 Syrian civilians have fled rebel-held districts of eastern Aleppo for the government-controlled west as government forces advance in the city, activists said Sunday.

The civilians fled overnight to the Massaken Hanano district and were taken to government-controlled areas, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Syrian state media said government forces had Saturday captured Massaken Hanano, the largest rebel-held district of Aleppo, in what would be a major breakthrough in the government's offensive to retake the entire city.

Fresh fighting broke out Saturday night between government forces and rebel groups in the neighboring districts of Haidariya and Sakhur, said the Observatory.

Government forces targeted the area with heavy shelling, said the pro-opposition activist group based in Britain.

Pro-government media hailed the "success" of the government forces, reporting that they continued their advance Sunday.

On Saturday, at least 18 civilians were killed in government raids and artillery fire in several districts of Aleppo, said the activists.

It took to 219 the overall number of civilians killed, including 27 children, since the government launched the assault on rebel-held east Aleppo on Nov. 15.

The rebels meanwhile intensified rocket attacks on the western districts overnight, killing at least four civilians and wounding dozens, Observatory said.

Such attacks have killed a total of 27 civilians since the offensive began, among them 11 children.

Source: National News Agency