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Status of main battle fronts in Syria and Iraq

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Beirut (AFP)

Here are the latest developments on the main battle fronts in Syria and Iraq, as of 1730 GMT on Tuesday:

SYRIA

- Battle for Aleppo

Fears grew for tens of thousands of civilians in a shrinking pocket of rebel-held eastern Aleppo Tuesday as the UN said it had received credible reports that pro-regime forces executed dozens of civilians.

After weeks of heavy artillery fire and air strikes, regime forces control more than 90 percent of former opposition-held territory in Syria's second city.

Rebel are reportedly confined to just a handful of neighbourhoods including Mashhad and part of Sukkari.

Witnesses there described scenes of carnage in rebel areas, with bodies lying amid the rubble.

The UN said it had seen reports that at least 82 civilians, including 11 women and 13 children, were killed in recent days.

Rebel sources said Tuesday evening that civilians and opposition fighters would start evacuating east Aleppo within hours under a deal with the regime.

An estimated 130,000 people have fled east Aleppo since late November, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The government assault on Aleppo has killed at least 463 civilians including 62 children since it began in mid-November, according to the Observatory.

Another 130 civilians have been killed by rebel fire into the city's west during the same period, it says.

- Palmyra -

With regime forces focused on taking Aleppo, the Islamic State group has re-seized the ancient city of Palmyra, from which it was driven out by a Russian-backed operation in March.

"We regret that we have yet to completely neutralise their offensive," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

Retaking the UNESCO World Heritage site on Sunday gave the jihadist group an important propaganda boost as it faces assaults on two key bastions -- Syria's Raqa and Iraq's Mosul.

- Raqa -

A US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance is fighting to seize IS's de facto Syrian capital of Raqa, east of Aleppo.

Backed by US troops and air strikes from a US-led coalition, members of the Syrian Democratic Forces have advanced to within 25 kilometres (15 miles) of the city.

IRAQ

- Battle for Mosul -

Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitary forces said Tuesday they retook three more villages southwest of Mosul, completing another phase in operations aimed at cutting the jihadists' link to Syria.

Pro-government forces launched an assault on October 17 to eject IS from its last Iraqi stronghold. They have taken almost half of eastern Mosul.

The elite Counter-Terrorism Service now controls several eastern neighbourhoods and is closing in on the river Tigris that divides the city.

Federal police and interior ministry forces have mostly been fighting on a southern front, stalled within striking distance of Mosul airport south of the city.

The United Nations says a total of 90,000 people have been displaced as a result of the Mosul operation.

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