Syria Situation Report: December 2 - 8, 2016

Pro-regime forces backed by heavy airstrikes seized at least fifteen districts in Eastern Aleppo City including large parts of the Old City of Aleppo, shrinking the pocket held by opposition forces by more than seventy-five percent. Activists stated that opposition groups had withdrawn from the area to regroup in Southern Aleppo City and noted that more than 80,000 civilians have fled Eastern Aleppo City since the start of the pro-regime offensive on November 15. The Aleppo Leadership Council - a committee of all opposition groups in Aleppo City - released a statement on December 7 calling for a five-day ceasefire, medical evacuations, and free passage for civilians to Northern Aleppo Province. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Germany to discuss a deal to evacuate opposition-held districts of Eastern Aleppo City. Anonymous sources stated that the proposal calls for the safe evacuation of all civilians and opposition fighters from Eastern Aleppo City except for members of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham - the successor of Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. The meeting ended without any major breakthrough. Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution calling for a seven-day ceasefire in Aleppo City on December 5.