Monday, 13 January, 2020

Aleppo victory also a triumph for Russia and Iran, Assad says

Syrian president Bashar al Assad says the recapturing of eastern Aleppo from rebel forces is as much a victory for Russia and Iran as his own country.

The president’s comments came as Russia claimed its air campaign against the besieged city had killed 25,000 terrorist since September 2015.

Iranian backed militias, led by Lebanese Hezbollah militia, provided thousands of fighters to battle rebels along the city’s main front lines.

The victory was a “basic step on the road to ending terrorism in the whole of Syrian territory and creating the right circumstances for a solution to end the war”, Sky News quoted Mr Assad as saying.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said warplanes had made 71,000 strikes and had “liquidated 725 training camps, 405 weapon factories and workshops, 1,500 pieces of terrorist equipment, and 35,000 fighters, including 204 field commanders.”

The Red Cross says the evacuation of rebel-held parts of Aleppo is nearing its end with thousands of people leaving the city.

“Overnight between Wednesday and Thursday, in one of the last stages of the evacuation, more than 4,000 fighters were evacuated in private cars, vans, and pick-ups from eastern Aleppo,” said ICRC spokeswoman Ingy Sedky.

Around 34,000 people had now left rebel areas of Aleppo under an evacuation deal, she said.

“The bad weather, including heavy snow and wind, and the poor state of vehicles mean things are moving much more slowly than expected,” she added.

“The evacuation will continue for the entire day and night and most probably tomorrow. Thousands are still expected to be evacuated.”

Syrian forces will complete the operation to take full control of the city once the evacuation has finished.

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