Syrians walk amid dust following a reported barrel-bomb attack by Syrian government forces in the Tariq al-Bab neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo July 7, 2014. (AFP Photo/Zein al-Rifai)
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Syrian troops advanced in and around the northern city of Aleppo on Monday, in what appears to be an attempt to lay siege to opposition-held parts of the country's largest city, activists said.The troops faced rebels stretched thin by a two-front fight against government forces and Islamic militants encroaching on opposition-held areas. Aleppo is the last large urban area that Syrian rebels hold after losing territory to government forces over the past year, and it lies close to the border with Turkey, an important friendly supply route for rebels. Aleppo, once Syria's commercial center, has been carved up into rebel- and government-controlled areas since an opposition offensive in mid-2012 .Activist Abdurrahman said he did not think Aleppo would fall quickly. "It is going to be a very difficult battle," said Abdurrahman, whose group has a network of activists around Syria. He said the government's aim was likely to capture Aleppo's northern district of Handarat to further close in on rebels.
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