THIS WEEKEND the Syrian army and its allies announced the capture of more than a third of the rebel-held eastern half of Aleppo in an accelerating attack that threatens to crush the opposition in its most important urban stronghold.
Syrian troops managed to break the deadlock with the help of Iranian-backed Shia Muslim militias and Russian air strikes.
In early September they reinstated a siege of the east, trapping the 275,000 people living there, and launched an all-out assault later that month.
France, a key backer of the Syrian opposition, is due to convene a meeting of countries opposed to Al-Assad, including the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, in December.
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called on Tuesday for an immediate United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the situation in Aleppo.
Up to 16,000 civilians have been displaced. (photo: Reuters)