Reuters International

Civilians walk past damaged buildings in the rebel-held al-Sheikh Said neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria September 1, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government forces and their allies recaptured areas in southwestern Aleppo on Sunday which rebels seized last month, after heavy bombardments and repeated attempts to drive the insurgents back, a rebel official and monitors said.

The areas recaptured included the Weaponry College and the Air Force Technical College in the Ramousah area on the city's southwestern outskirts.

Rebels captured those areas last month in an assault that broke through a government siege on Aleppo's opposition-held eastern sector. Recapturing all the territory gained by insurgents in that assault would effectively reimpose the siege.

Zakaria Malahifji of the Fastaqim rebel group confirmed reports that the two colleges had been recaptured by government forces.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war, said later that government forces had also recaptured the Artillery College.

President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Russia, Iran and the powerful Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah, wants to recapture the whole of Aleppo, Syria's biggest city before the five-year-old conflict.

Moscow's intervention last year turned the war in Assad's favour in many areas, but rebels have made some gains including in Aleppo and in Hama province, further south.

A spokesman for rebel group Jaish al-Nasr, Mohammed Rasheed, said insurgents had launched a push to try and capture the town of Maan, north of the province capital, Hama city.

Advances by the insurgents in recent days have brought them to within just 10 km (6 miles) of government-controlled Hama.

(Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Mark Potter)

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