Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attends prayers at a mosque in Damascus as he appears to come closer to victory in the battle for Aleppo. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited a mosque in Damascus on Sunday to attend prayers marking the Prophet Mohammad's birthday, as the Syrian army appeared to come closer to victory in the battle for Aleppo. On Sunday, the army made new gains south of Aleppo's historic citadel, with a rebel official saying world powers seemed to be presenting his side with a choice of "death or surrender". The army has swept through east Aleppo in the past two weeks, taking three quarters of rebel ground, forcing tens of thousands to flee the fighting, some to government-held areas and others deeper into the insurgent pocket. The U.S. and Russia tabled a proposal to rebels in Aleppo on Sunday that would offer safe passage from the city for fighters, their families and other civilians, three opposition officials said. However, Russia denied that any deal had been reached. The rebel groups in Aleppo have yet to respond to the proposal, the opposition officials said. If they accept, it would restore Assad's full control over rebel-held areas of eastern Aleppo, his biggest victory yet in the civil war that has shattered his country.