>> The recapture of eastern Aleppo by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces marks the climax of a brutal four year conflict for what was once Syria's biggest city. I'm Reuters journalist Dominic Evans. Aleppo was dragged in relatively late into the Syrian conflict. It was a huge commercial city, it was a very mixed city.
In any case, it wasn't until the summer of 2012, a year after the uprising broke out elsewhere, that some protestors were killed in Aleppo. And very quickly after that, armed rebels were fighting in east Aleppo. They were joined by a wave of fighters who came in from the poorer, rural Sunni areas around Aleppo and took over east Aleppo.
For the next two years, there wasn't a great deal of change in the frontline. And the scale of the bombardment increased. The damage to the city increased. There were air strikes, barrel bombs from the government Air Force. There was artillery and bombardment from both sides. In the early 2015, the rebel fighters in the north launched a major offensive.
They took a lot of territory. They put government control and the real threat in central Syria. That prompted Russia and President Putin to intervene. That brought real air power to Assad's forces. And slowly, as of the middle of 2015, the equation changed and the momentum shifted. And inexorably, the area that they controlled came under more and more pressure, until you saw them ultimately surrounded earlier this year.
The end when it came in the last two weeks was really quite sudden, a swift collapse of rebel control in the east of the city. Victory has come, there is a military victory for the president and for his army, but it has come at an appalling cost for the city of Aleppo itself.