11:30 23 December 2016
The Syrian army has confirmed that they have Aleppo “back under government control”. This marks the biggest victory for President Bashar al-Assad since 2011 when uprising against him began.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed that "all civilians who wished to be evacuated have been, as well as the wounded and fighters". However, the evacuation has been described by the UN as “traumatic” for over 34,000 civilians due to heavy snow, strong winds and the poor state of vehicles resulting in “crowding and vulnerable people waiting for hours" in freezing temperatures.
In a statement, the Syrian army said: "This victory represents a strategic change and a turning point in the war against terrorism on the one hand and a crushing blow to the terrorists' project and their supporters on the other hand,"
Meanwhile, Yasser al-Youssef, of the rebel Nureddin al-Zinki group, described recent events a “great loss”.
He added: "For the revolution, it is a period of retreat and a difficult turning point,"
Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed that the government has "liquidated 725 training camps, 405 weapon factories and workshops, 1,500 pieces of terrorist equipment, and 35,000 fighters".