(GPA) Aleppo – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has reported today that the entirety of East Aleppo is fully back under government control, meaning the city is now completely liberated.
The SAA has completed the evacuations of anti-government fighters and civilians looking to flee with these groups as of today. This is a major victory for the Syrian forces in Aleppo coming after almost 4 years of fighting in the city.
Thousands of people have already taken to the streets to celebrate the last of the terrorists inside the city leaving. The fighters were removed in government-provided buses and have gone to the suburbs on the southwest outskirts of the provincial capital. This is the final evacuation for the terrorists and their sympathizers after multiple delays caused by “rebel groups” violating a ceasefire; attacking the bus convoy as well as some slight delays caused by heavy snowfall.
This is a major victory for the Syrian government. Aleppo was Syria’s most populated city prior to the conflict and has been split since al Qaeda affiliated groups began fighting their in 2012. While not a stronghold of the more notorious Islamic State; Aleppo was home to members of the Syrian al Qaeda branch, Jahbat al-Nusra and divisions of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that had allied with them. Though the war in Syria is far from over, the sheer size of this victory in the war as a whole is a major step forward for the government.
The final evacuation was confirmed by both the Syrian army and known terrorist groups. The SAA statement said “Thanks to the blood of our martyrs and the sacrifices of our valiant armed forces as well as allied forces … the general command of the armed forces announces the return of security to Aleppo after its release from terrorism and terrorists, and the departure of those who stayed there.”
There was also a statement released by an “official” from al-Nusra ally Ahrar al-Sham confirming that “the last convoy has left the rebel-controlled area.” The final evacuation push was brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Turkey has maintained contact with these terrorist groups since early in the war. The SAA with support from Russia managed to deprive the “opposition” of 90% of their territory over the last several month, which is probably what has changed relations with Turkey so much in recent days.