BEIRUT – The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
France's foreign minister is calling for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting to try to stop the fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo and bring in humanitarian aid.
Jean-Marc Ayrault issued the call in a statement Tuesday after Syrian government forces captured more than a third of opposition-held eastern Aleppo on Monday. Civilians fled as rebel defenses in the city rapidly collapsed, in what could herald a key victory for President Bashar Assad.
Ayrault said he will meet Wednesday in Paris with the head of Aleppo's district councils, Brita Hagi Hasan. "More than ever, it is urgent to put in place a stop to hostilities and allow unhindered access to humanitarian aid," the French foreign minister said.
France has supported Syrian opposition groups resisting Assad's Russian-backed forces.
The United Nations' humanitarian chief says initial reports indicate some 16,000 people have been displaced following Syrian government advances on rebel-held Aleppo districts.
Stephen O'Brien says Tuesday that thousands more are likely to flee if fighting continues to spread in the coming days. He says the fleeing civilians are heading to uncertain and precarious situations amid intense attacks. O'Brien expresses concern for the civilians' fate, calling the situation in Aleppo "deeply alarming and chilling."
In swift and dramatic advances, Syrian government and allied troops pushed their way into northern parts of opposition held eastern Aleppo, touching off a wave of panic and flight from the besieged enclave.
Many of the fleeing civilians headed to government and Kurdish-controlled areas while others were driven deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas.