On Thursday, the Syrian regime announced that it has recaptured the city of Aleppo from rebel forces. The report marks a major turning point in the country’s civil war, as the government has now regained its most populous city. In a statement acquired by Al Jazeera, the army confirmed it has taken control of all rebel-held districts in eastern Aleppo:
“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.”
Since 2012, the city had been divided between rebel and government forces, with the two battling for control. But in the last month, the Syrian army has increased its efforts to draw out rebel forces. Al Jazeera reports that the army had launched a month-long offensive that drove out more than 90 percent of rebels in eastern Aleppo.
But the victory comes as forces decimated the city, and left many people without homes. It’s been a struggle for many, who have documented their plight on social media, including noted child tweeter Bana Alabed. Evacuations hit some roadblocks, but state-run media revealed the last bit of rebels and civilians had safely been evacuated out of the city. This revelation comes as the International Committee of the Red Cross announced more than 4,000 fighters had left from heavily concentrated rebel areas. CNN reports that efforts were hampered by weather conditions.
The latest news regarding Aleppo may finally bring an end to the turbulent situation, which saw approximately 400,000 citizens killed. CNN noted that 4.81 million people have fled the country since 2011.