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BREAKING: Assad Regime Says It Has Taken Full Control Of Aleppo

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The Syrian regime says it has taken full control of Aleppo, state-run media announced Thursday, December 22, 2016 marking a major turning point in the nation’s five-year civil war.

Government forces and their allies are now in control of eastern Aleppo, ending more than four years of rebel rule.

Syrian forces and pro-Assad militia entered eastern Aleppo by ground in late November.

The regime and Russia, its most powerful ally, have decimated neighborhoods with airstrikes.

It represents a momentous victory for President Bashar Assad and a crushing defeat for Syria’s opposition which will struggle to forge a way forward.

The ancient city has been divided into rebel and government parts since 2012.

Earlier Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said heavy snowfall and rickety vehicles have slowed the evacuation of thousands of civilians and rebel fighters from eastern Aleppo. The snow brought other challenges to humanitarian organizations dealing with the exodus.

The evacuations come under a complex people-swap agreement that essentially allows rebels to go to rebel-held areas and pro-regime civilians and fighters to be moved to regime-controlled places.

An estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed and more than 4.81 million have fled the country since the war began in 2011, according to the United Nations.

Developing story – more to come

via CNN, AP

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