Even as the Syrian government has managed to retake eastern Aleppo by driving out rebels from the area, the opposition has said that their fight to oust President Bashar al-Assad would not end. Chief negotiator for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) George Sabra warned on Tuesday (29 November) that rebels would continue to fight against the Assad regime.

On Monday, the Syrian army backed by Russia announced that it had recaptured more than a third of rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo, in what is a major blow to armed opponents of Assad. Aleppo was an important urban stronghold under the control of rebels.

Sabra told BBC that losing Aleppo would "not be the end of the revolution". The Syrian city has been a significant region since the Syrian uprising against Assad began six years back.

As thousands of civilians fled besieged districts of Aleppo after heavy fighting over the weekend, rebels claimed that they had "pulled back to a more defensible front line".

"Right now, we have so many places under the power of Free Syrian Army," Sabra added.

Regime forces said that rebel factions had lost 12 districts in Aleppo, which is almost 40% of their territory as of Monday. The loss is believed to be the biggest defeat for the opposition in the besieged east of the city since 2012.

Sabra further warned that now it will be more difficult to reach a peace deal between the regime and rebels. "Nobody can think about peaceful solutions in these circumstances," he noted. The military campaign and air strikes against the rebels is "killing a part of the political process", the senior negotiator said.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the heavy fighting and two weeks of Russia-backed air strikes forced more than 10,000 civilians to flee their homes in the beleaguered districts.

Government troops are dismantling mines and explosives as they advanced into Aleppo. Regime forces started making steady gains in the region after Russia announced its support for Assad in September 2015.

The UN voiced deep concern for the civilians and reiterated its appeal for aid to be allowed into war-ravaged areas.

Earlier in October, UN human rights chief Zied Ra'ad said Assad government's tactics of bombings amounted to war crimes as it resulted in many civilian casualties. He condemned the attacks on east Aleppo calling it "crimes of historic proportions", while stressing that Syrian president should be taken to the International Criminal Court.

Aleppo Syria
Displaced families gather at a makeshift camp in the government-held district of Jibreen on 27 November 2016George Ourfalian/AFP