Published: Sat, December 24, 2016
World | By Tasha Manning

Syrian forces clear explosives in evacuated east Aleppo

Syrian forces clear explosives in evacuated east Aleppo

The Syrian army said late Thursday that it had retaken full control of Aleppo, scoring its biggest victory against opposition forces since the civil war erupted in 2011.

Assad's victory in Aleppo is a boon for his allies in Moscow and Tehran and a defeat for the opposition's backers, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Western states.

"The liberation of Aleppo is not only a victory for Syria but also for those who really contribute to the fight against terrorism, notably Russian Federation and Iran", state news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying.

The evacuation effort began last week but was halted after a day because of renewed fighting.

Some of Aleppo's residents have described the evacuations as forced displacement.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was prepared to facilitate the evacuations when they resume. "If it goes smoothly the evacuation will end tonight", said Ingy Sedky, the ICRC's spokeswoman in Syria.

The statement underlined that the United Nations issued an update Friday its access to eastern Aleppo, which was demanded originally on Monday Dec. 19 by a resolution by the Security Council, and said the access was still to be given.

At least 34,000 people, including more than 4,000 rebel fighters, were evacuated from east Aleppo in a week-long operation hampered by severe winter weather. "The humanitarian situation in northern Syria is very hard, because the area is already densely populated since it has people displaced from all over Syria".

"An eyewitness at the crossing point says last night the evacuation was delayed as vehicles failed and snow fell".

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"The arrival of thousands of refugees from Aleppo in Idlib aroused fears that the rebel-held city in northwestern Syria could be next", according to Reuters.

We review the key developments in Syria, including the resumption of evacuations in Aleppo after another round of delays, Russia, Turkey and Iran agreeing to sponsor peace talks in Syria, and intensified fighting between Turkey and ISIS in northern Syria.

"These people came out of hell, but they are indignant at their treatment", Dbis said.

An estimated 500,000 people have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes during the conflict.

As well as handing a major victory to Assad, the rebel withdrawal from Aleppo has given fresh impetus to global efforts to end the conflict.

Ministers from Russia, Iran and Turkey adopted a document they called the "Moscow Declaration", which set out the principles that any peace agreement should follow.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (right) and UN Senior Advisor, Jan Egeland.

Assad and his forces proclaimed "this victory is an important turning point", and credited allies Russian Federation and Iran for helping to make it possible.

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