Syrian government forces' tanks drive in the village of Tal Jabin, north of the embattled city of Aleppo and take control of parts of the supply route on February 3, 2016. AFP / GEORGE OURFALIAN
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Syria's mainstream rebels risk total collapse after a Russian-backed government advance that severed their main supply line to Aleppo city and threatens to leave them completely besieged there.Analysts said rebels and their international backers were left with few options to prevent fresh government advances, which came as fresh peace talks backed by the United Nations fell apart. The city itself has been divided between rebel control in the east and government control in the west since mid-2012 .Opposition forces and some 350,000 civilians inside rebel-held Aleppo city now face the prospect of a government siege, a tactic that has been employed to devastating effect against other former rebel strongholds such as Homs.Syria's rebels have long sought anti-aircraft weaponry from international backers, but Washington has held back for fear they would end up in the hands of extremists such as Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front or even the ISIS group.Syria's government, meanwhile, bolstered by Russia and Shiite fighters from Lebanon's Hezbollah movement and elsewhere, is likely to consolidate its hold over "useful Syria" -- the densely populated west and coast of the country.
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