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Celebration prevails in Aleppo after rebel evacuation

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-23 10:16

Celebration prevails in Aleppo after rebel evacuation

Syrian army soldiers celebrate the evacuation of the opposition fighters in Aleppo, northern Syria, on Dec. 22, 2016. The Syrian army declared on Thursday the liberation of eastern Aleppo city in northern Syria, as the last batch of rebels left the city, making Aleppo city completely under the government control. [Photo/Xinhua]

ALEPPO, Syria - Celebrations prevailed Syria's northern city of Aleppo, just minutes after the army declared the city free of rebels on Thursday.

Honking their cars while waving the Syrian flags, hundreds of people thronged the squares of western Aleppo chanting slogans in support of President Bashar al-Assad and Aleppo.

"Here is Aleppo", and "Aleppo is back," chanted the demonstrators.

"I would like to say that today the victory in Aleppo, tomorrow in all of Syria. We tell the rebels that we are here and we are the victors," Qadri, a demonstrator, told Xinhua.

Sabah, another demonstrator, said "we are so happy. This happiness is indescribable and it's the best joy we have had in a long time. Now we are the happiest people in the country. Everyone here is happy, the boys, the men and women."

For his part, Shadi said "we have earned this happiness. We have been waiting for this day for a very long time. Thanks God the time of terrorists is over."

On Thursday evening, the Syrian army declared the liberation of eastern Aleppo city, as the last batch of rebels left the city, making Aleppo city completely under the government control.

The Syrian army declared the restoration of security and stability to all of Aleppo city, following the evacuation of the last rebel convoy from the eastern part of the city on Thursday evening.

"This victory constitutes a strategic turn in the war on terror, and deals a strong blow to the terrorist project and its backers," said the army in a statement.

"The victory constitutes the launching of a new stage in battling terrorism on all Syrian territories," the statement added.

The statement stressed that the victory in Aleppo will motivate the Syrian army to carry out its battles on the terrorists across Syria.

The evacuation of rebels and their families started last Thursday, as part of a Russian Turkish-deal to end the rebel presence in eastern Aleppo following a large-scale offensive. Aleppo has been under the rebel control since 2012.

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