Syrian regime close to retaking Aleppo; but loses Palmyra in the process

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Even with near-total control of Aleppo, the Syrian military sent bombs thundering down on the rebels stills holding out.

Thousands of civilians have been caught in the intense fighting as the war came closer with the constant shelling this past week.

Aleppo’s historic old city has now been reclaimed by the Syrian army.

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A tunnel dug by the Syrian rebels

CBS News

Among the rubble, there are some insights into how the war was fought.

CBS News got access to a tunnel dug by opposition fighters, used to cross into government-controlled western Aleppo and launch surprise attacks.

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A Syrian soldier demonstrates a slingshot used by the rebels in Aleppo

CBS News

The rebels were outgunned and outnumbered, but were able to keep up the fight with barricades, propaganda and improvised weapons.

“Before they started using cannons, they used these catapults,” a Syrian soldier said, demonstrating a makeshift slingshot, his words drowned out by military jets overhead.

The increasingly one-sided battle may be coming to an end, leaving behind everyday items like a bicycle, a sewing machine and a kitchen stool left behind in the rubble.

The battle for Aleppo has stretched the Syrian forces thin, so thin that the regime lost track of Palmyra.

The ancient city the government vowed they would never lose again is now back under ISIS control. 

Earlier this year with much fanfare, the Syrian and Russian forces had declared ISIS would never come back.

That lasted just nine months.