Assad’s forces make advances, further securing Aleppo region

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian troops are making significant advances against the last rebel held enclaves in the country’s northwest, consolidating the government’s hold over the key Aleppo province. State media said Sunday that Syrian troops have captured at least 30 villages and towns in the western Aleppo countryside. The Syrian government advance appeared to put the provincial capital of Aleppo out of the firing range of opposition groups for the first time in years, another sign of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s growing control of the area. Over 800,000 civilians have fled the fighting in northwestern Syria, in the latest humanitarian crisis to afflict the country in its nine-year-long civil war.