Europe

Syrian troops take even more ground in rebel part of Aleppo

  • FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 file photo, a Syrian army soldier places a Syrian national flag during a battle with rebel fighters at the Ramouseh front line, east of Aleppo, Syria. Aleppo is set to be recaptured by Syrian President Bashar Assad, but the victory will not be Assad's alone. The battle for Syria's largest city has attracted thousands of foreign forces, including Russian soldiers and thousands of fighters from Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 5, 2016 file photo, a Syrian army soldier places a Syrian national flag during a battle with rebel fighters at the Ramouseh front line, east of Aleppo, Syria. Aleppo is set to be recaptured by Syrian President Bashar Assad, but the victory will not be Assad's alone. The battle for Syria's largest city has attracted thousands of foreign forces, including Russian soldiers and thousands of fighters from Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Smoke rises in an east Aleppo neighborhood as the sun rises during a battle between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels in Aleppo, Syria, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. A Syrian war monitoring group says government forces have captured large parts of Aleppo's central-eastern al-Shaar neighborhood from rebels. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government forces took most of the once-populous neighborhood Tuesday following intense clashes. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Smoke rises in an east Aleppo neighborhood as the sun rises during a battle between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels in Aleppo, Syria, on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. A Syrian war monitoring group says government forces have captured large parts of Aleppo's central-eastern al-Shaar neighborhood from rebels. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says government forces took most of the once-populous neighborhood Tuesday following intense clashes. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military's General Staff speaks at a briefing at the Defense Ministry's headquarters in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Rudskoi said on Friday that 10,500 civilians — including 4,015 children — have left Aleppo's eastern neighborhoods in the last 24 hours. The number could not be independently confirmed. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military's General Staff speaks at a briefing at the Defense Ministry's headquarters in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Rudskoi said on Friday that 10,500 civilians — including 4,015 children — have left Aleppo's eastern neighborhoods in the last 24 hours. The number could not be independently confirmed. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

Syria's state media and an opposition monitoring group say the government troops and allied militias have seized a wide strip on the southern edge Aleppo from rebels, closing in on tens of thousands of civilians squeezed into the center of the city.

State TV says the Syrian forces fully secured Sheik Saeed neighborhood — an area interspersed with agricultural fields along the southern stretch of the rebel enclave — on Monday, after days of intense clashes.

The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights estimates the fall of Sheik Saeed leaves rebels enclosed in a small area in central Aleppo that's only 10 percent of what rebels used to control.

Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to be still trapped in that area, accessible only through government-monitored crossing points.