Published: Sat, December 24, 2016
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Assad cements hold over Aleppo as residents rejoice

Assad cements hold over Aleppo as residents rejoice

Putin also said the evacuation of Aleppo would not have been possible without the help of Russia, Iran and Turkey or the good will of Assad.

But Turkey and Russian Federation have recently started working closely together to evacuate rebel fighters and civilians from war-battered Aleppo under a complex deal.

A day after the last rebels left their remaining pocket of territory in the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - a Britain-based war monitor - said about 10 shells fell in its southwestern al-Hamdaniya district.

Their eventual departure will hand full control of the city to President Bashar al-Assad, when it will become the biggest prize of Syria's almost six-year civil war.

Providing an update of the situation on the ground, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General told reporters at the daily headquarters briefing that along with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and ICRC evacuations, at least 20 surge staff from Damascus had been deployed to Aleppo to support ongoing observations of evacuations and response activities in the city.

The Syrian army said on Thursday the evacuation brings "the return of security to Aleppo", emphasizing that it had also eradicated the last of the rebel fighters. On Wednesday, buses began evacuating the last rebels and civilians, an estimated 3,000 people.

In Aleppo, a fleet of buses entered east Aleppo again Tuesday afternoon to evacuate the remaining rebels and civilians from the city, activists said.

NPR's Alison Meuse reports on Twitter that people in east Aleppo say they've been waiting in the cold for days, without food, at the place where the buses board - afraid to leave and seek shelter in case they miss their chance to leave the city. One woman dressed in a black robe and face veil carried a small child swaddled in a heavy yellow blanket.

The Syrian uprising that began six years ago was an attempt to oust Assad, whose family has ruled the country for four decades.

Assad cements hold over Aleppo as residents rejoice
Assad cements hold over Aleppo as residents rejoice

The rebels' hold in Aleppo was a major point of pride, and at times the city seemed to be an invulnerable part of what was once a growing opposition-held patch of territory in the north.

The army announced on Thursday it had recaptured the former rebel stronghold of east Aleppo following a landmark evacuation deal that saw thousands of opposition fighters and residents bussed out.

The ICRC said about 750 people have been bused out of the villages, leaving hundreds more to be evacuated.

The mechanism is set to work with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, established by the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2011, which has repeatedly suggested the intervention of the International Criminal Court, a move blocked by Russian Federation and China. Ms Armstrong said 4,000 people were in the convoy.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently dropped his demand that the Syrian president step down from power.

The fall of eastern Aleppo to the forces aligned with Syrian President Bashar Assad has been a foregone conclusion for weeks now.

Among those saved earlier in the week was Bana Alabed who, with her mother, has been tweeting from the war-torn city.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the three countries' cooperation resulted in good results in Aleppo. Assad's regime reclaimed much of the rebel-held territory amid worldwide calls for a cease-fire to prevent Syria's escalating humanitarian crisis.

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