On Friday, December 16 the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Aleppo was now under full government control, with the Syrian army operation to retake the eastern districts completed.
The battle of Aleppo began in summer 2012 and lasted four arduous years. The government-held part of the city was surrounded by Islamist militants until Russian airpower was able to end the encirclement following Moscow’s decision to intervene in 2015, making the siege one of the longest in the history of modern warfare. Needless to say, after such intense fighting, the city was left a shadow of its former self.
Whole city blocks have been reduced to rubble; obstructed thoroughfares, devastated infrastructure – these are just a few of the problems that the Syrian authorities now have to deal with in the city, in addition to providing adequate food and medical supplies to the local population.
Yet even amid the bleakness, hope can still be found as the old Citadel of Aleppo, a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, managed to withstand the siege intact and may now even became open to the public.