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​Syrian regime troops made a major advance in the besieged city of Aleppo on Monday, taking more than a third of the territory previously held by rebels. The advance was the biggest gain by the Syrian government in four years, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, according to Reuters. Rebel groups were forced to withdraw as thousands of residents fled. Troops allied with Syrian President Bashar al Assad, backed by Russian aircraft, along with Iranian and Hezbollah forces on the ground, have been encircling rebels for months. Now about 40 percent of the city is controlled by the regime, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The Syrian advance killed at least 500 civilians, with another 1,500 wounded, the White Helmets rescue group said, according to the Washington Post.