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Status of main battle fronts in Iraq and Syria

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Beirut (AFP)

Here are the latest developments on the main battle fronts in Iraq and Syria, as of 1700 GMT on Monday:

SYRIA

- Battle for Aleppo -

Russia said it will hold talks with Washington on a total rebel withdrawal from Syria's Aleppo, where the army has made sweeping advances, but opposition factions rejected any pullout.

The UN Security Council was due to vote on a draft resolution for a seven-day ceasefire in Aleppo.

On the ground in the east, Syrian troops battled rebels in the Shaar district, which the army has almost completely encircled.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces have seized two-thirds of the former rebel bastion in east Aleppo since they began an assault to recapture all of the city in mid-November.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 324 people have been killed in east Aleppo during the offensive, including 44 children.

Rebel fire on the government-held west of the city has killed 73 people, including 29 children, in the same period, the monitor says.

Two female Russian army medics were killed in shelling of a field hospital in Aleppo, Moscow said, blaming Western nations that back rebel fighters.

Russia's defence ministry said a Sukhoi jet crashed into the sea after a malfunction as it tried to land on the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in the eastern Mediterranean after a bombing raid in Syria.

- Raqa -

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, is trying to push closer to the Islamic State group's de facto Syrian capital of Raqa.

The SDF has been battling the jihadists to drive them from positions around 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of the city.

IRAQ

- Battle for Mosul -

Two days after taking control of Al-Ikha in eastern Mosul, Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service launched an assault on the city's Al-Taamim district, triggering heavy clashes. The special forces aim to join up with Iraqi soldiers advancing in southeast Mosul to head towards the Tigris river which divides the city.

Since launching an offensive on October 17 to oust IS from its last Iraqi stronghold, pro-government forces say they have recaptured 40 percent of the eastern half of the city.

Some 74,000 people have fled the fighting, but upwards of a million are still there.

UN figures show that around 2,000 members of Iraqi forces and more than 900 civilians were killed in fighting across the country in November.

Two senior Iraqi army officers were killed in clashes with IS in the Sharqat area, south of Mosul, Iraq's military command said.

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