A general view taken with a drone shows Aleppo's historic citadel, controlled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, as seen from a rebel-held area of Aleppo, Syria, October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
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Syrian government forces are trying to split opposition-held eastern Aleppo in two in a fierce ground and air assault that is taking a heavy toll on besieged civilians and rebel fighters who are battling hard to stop them, a rebel commander said.Abu Abdel-Rahman Nour, Aleppo commander of the Jabhat al-Shamiya, one of the biggest groups fighting against President Bashar Assad in northern Syria, called for more help from countries such as France and Turkey, saying it would be a "catastrophe" if the government forces managed to bisect eastern Aleppo.Dividing eastern Aleppo would expose rebel fighters to attack on new fronts and could hasten what would be a major victory for Assad in the rebels' most important urban stronghold after five years of fighting.In the latest fighting, the pro-government forces, identified by the rebels mainly as Shiite militias, have sought to advance into an area of northeastern Aleppo, Nour said. This would further stretch the outgunned rebel fighters after what Nour called "one of the hardest periods" Aleppo had faced.
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