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By Laila Bassam and John Davison ALEPPO, Syria/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria's military and Russian warplanes bombarded rebel-held districts of Aleppo on Saturday as Damascus's allies said victory was near, but insurgents fought back and army advances halted after rapid gains during the week. The United States said it was meeting a Russian team in Geneva to find a way to save lives, but an agreement looked elusive as the two countries, which back opposing sides, have repeatedly failed to strike a deal to allow evacuations and help aid deliveries. Russia, whose military intervention helped turn the war in President Bashar al-Assad's favour, said the Syrian government now controls 93 percent of second city Aleppo, a figure Reuters could not independently verify.
Air strikes pummelled the shrinking rebel enclave in Aleppo on Saturday as US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Syrian regime's "indiscriminate bombing" amounted to crimes against humanity. Western powers meeting in Paris called for the resumption of peace talks and for civilians to be allowed to leave Aleppo, where tens of thousands have already fled a fierce regime offensive. The diplomatic flurry came as a US-backed alliance announced it would launch the second phase of its battle for the Islamic State group's de facto Syrian capital Raqa further east.