After nearly five years, the Battle of Aleppo has likely come to an end. This news arrives shortly after Syrian pro-government forces regained most of the besieged city in a “meltdown of humanity,” and scores of civilian deaths were reportedly carried out by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Nearly all rebel-held districts had already been retaken by the Syrian army with substantial assistance from Russia, which had bombed humanitarian envoys. Any possibility of civilian escape had been marred by the near certainty of starvation and threat of gunfire while fleeing.
On Tuesday afternoon, rebel forces announced that they reached a ceasefire, which will allow civilians and fighters to evacuate Aleppo. The first buzzings were muddled with the Syrian army claiming no information regarding an agreement. However, Reuters later confirmed that insurgents have agreed to vacate the city, and the government will allow them to go:
Rebel resistance in Syria’s Aleppo ended on Tuesday after years of fighting and months of bitter siege and bombardment that culminated in a bloody collapse of their defenses this week, as insurgents agreed to withdraw in a ceasefire.
Rebel officials said fighting would end on Tuesday evening and insurgents and the civilians who have been trapped in the tiny pocket of territory they hold in Aleppo would leave the city for opposition-held areas of the countryside to the west.
CNN adds that Russia has confirmed the ceasefire through its UN rep while asserting that the Assad regime now fully controls Aleppo.
Further, the Aleppo Media Centre has announced that safe passages will soon be available: “Within hours, civilians and military factions will be evacuated from the besieged city to Aleppo’s northern and western countryside.” Currently, credit for the deal is being handed to Turkish mediation efforts, although further maneuvers shall surely be revealed.
Hopefully, the ceasefire will be the real deal, rather than anything resembling the recent U.S.-Russia brokered effort, which failed in less than a week.