> The Syrian army announcing Thursday it has completely retaken control of Aleppo from rebel fighters after four years of bloody conflict, costing hundreds of thousands of lives, marking a key victory for president Bashar al-Assad. The last convoy of buses evacuating residents Thursday night. But the United Nations estimates that thousands still remain as harsh wintry conditions have stymied the evacuation.
Many evacuees have gone on to Idlib in northwestern Syria where experts warn a new battleground for Assad and opposition forces could be shaping up. Assad has declared he will continue to march on other rebel hotbeds while claiming victory with his Russian and Iranian allies saying the war was far from over