“Syria’s army and allies pushed into rebel-held parts of Aleppo’s Old City on Tuesday, a monitoring group said, looking closer than ever to achieving their most important victory of the five-year-old civil war by driving rebels out of their last urban stronghold.
A rebel official said they would never abandon Aleppo, after reports that U.S. and Russian diplomats were preparing to discuss the surrender and evacuation of insurgents from territory they have held for years.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said talks with the United States on a rebel withdrawal would begin in Geneva as soon as Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. But sources familiar with the plans later told Reuters no talks would take place this week in the Swiss city.
The rebels, who controlled large parts of eastern Aleppo for nearly five years, have lost around two thirds of their territory in the city over the past two weeks.
Government forces entered rebel-held parts of the Old City late on Tuesday, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported. A rebel official denied they had entered but said the army and its allies were trying to enter and battles continued.”