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Syria’s military command for Aleppo says it is commencing operations in the contested city’s rebel-held eastern quarters.

In a statement carried on state news Thursday the command calls on citizens to keep away from “terrorist groups.” It says it will provide shelter to any residents leaving the neighborhoods through designated safe passages.

It was not clear from the statement whether it will start ground operations or air raids.

Activists say at least 12 people have been killed in presumed government or Russian air strikes and shelling on the eastern quarters Thursday.

A spokesman for the Nour el-Din el-Zinki rebel factions in the city says government forces have not been able to make any advances in the city in the last 24 hours.

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