After some of the fiercest fighting seen in the Syrian conflict, the battle for the city of Aleppo – which has been contested since 2012 – has reportedly ended after rebels withdrew from the remaining opposition-held districts of the city.Jump to full report >>
On the evening of Monday 12 December, Syrian state television reported that government forces and its allies were in control of 99 per cent of Aleppo’s formerly rebel-held territory.
Tens of thousands of civilians have fled neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo and the humanitarian situation is dire. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said: “It is just a matter of a small period of time until its total collapse.”
There are reports of food running out and hospitals not functioning, with at least 400 critically wounded or sick people needing immediate evacuation. There are also allegations of the use of chemical weapons in the city by government forces, though this has not been verified.
In Syria as a whole, up to 470,000 people have been killed and 13.5 million people need humanitarian aid. 6.5 million people are internally displaced and a further 4.8 million people have fled the country, with more than 800,000 having sought asylum in Europe.
With the fighting continuing, efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the humanitarian situation go on, with Western powers calling for Russia and Syria to ease the suffering of civilians.
Meanwhile, as Aleppo was being recaptured by forces loyal to the Syrian regime, ISIS forces have regained control of the ancient city of Palmyra.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7832
Author: Nigel Walker
Topic: Middle East