Protesters in Aleppo at a demonstration against Russian airstrikes and an offensive by government-allied forces on the city. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
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A Syrian military offensive backed by heavy Russian airstrikes threatened to cut critical rebel supply lines into the northern city of Aleppo Tuesday, while the warring sides said peace talks had not started despite a U.N. statement they had. U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura announced the formal start Monday of the first attempt in two years to negotiate an end to the war in Syria. The attack north of Aleppo that began in recent days is the first major government offensive there since the Russian airstrikes began on Sept. 30 .Rebels described the assault north of Aleppo as the most intense yet.The head of the Syrian government delegation also denied talks had started after discussions with de Mistura Tuesday.The chances of resolving the war in Syria appear to be receding as the government, supported by Russian airstrikes, advances against rebels, some of them U.S.-backed.Advancing government forces seized the village of Hardatnin some 10 kilometers northwest of Aleppo, building on gains of the previous day, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.Another rebel commander said he had sent reinforcements to the area.
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