The heartbreaking ruins of a 4,000-year-old city as the brutal Battle for Aleppo finally ends after four and a half years: Assad's troops reveal epic destruction that has virtually razed the world heritage site to the ground
- A ceasefire deal has been struck between the Syrian government and rebels over the northern city of Aleppo
- It will allow the safe passage of rebels and civilians out of the city, effectively ending the battle that has raged
- Intense fighting in Aleppo over the last six years has seen 30,000 lives lost and the city almost obliterated
- Rebels with light weapons and civilians still in the city will start moving out to the west from tomorrow morning
An ancient mosque that once stood proudly in the centre of Aleppo has been reduced to rubble as a ceasefire has begun effectively ending the brutal four year battle for the city.
Dramatic images of the once grand Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo, also known as the 'Great Mosque' have revealed how it now lies in ruins.
Several of the walls surrounding the UNESCO-listed building have been destroyed and pro-government fighters have been inspected looking on at the ruins.
Syrian pro-government forces walking in the ancient Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo, which now lies in ruins
Debris can be seen littering the ground in the mosque's courtyard as Syrian army troops inspect the damage to the ancient building
Several of the walls surrounding the UNESCO-listed building have been destroyed and fighters have been inspected looking on at the ruins
The images come as rebel groups have announced a ceasefire in Aleppo after Syrian forces were accused of 'massacring 82 civilians in their homes'
The images come as rebel groups have announced a ceasefire in Aleppo after Syrian forces were accused of 'massacring 82 civilians in their homes' during 'the century's worst humanitarian tragedy'
Syrian pro-government forces walk holding a Syrian and Palestinian flag in the ancient Umayyad mosque in the old city of Aleppo
Government forces stand on top of a burned out tank that has been left next to the destroyed buildings close to the mosque
It comes as a ceasefire deal has been struck between the pro-Syrian government forces and the rebels for them and the civilians still living there to evacuate the city safely.
This means that the battle for Aleppo, one of the worst of a civil war that has drawn in global and regional powers, has ended with victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his military coalition of Russia, Iran and regional Shi'ite militias.
For rebels, their expected departure with light weapons starting on Wednesday morning for opposition-held regions west of the city is a crushing blow to their hopes of ousting Assad after revolting against him during the 2011 Arab uprisings.
Meanwhile, Russia's U.N. ambassador Vitaly Churkin told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council that 'according to the latest information that we received in the last hour, military actions in eastern Aleppo are over.'
Before the conflict in Syria, the Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo, also known as the Grand Mosque stood proudly in the city
The Great Mosque of Aleppo before the civil war, which was a UNESCO-listed ancient building and located in the city's old town
The mosque is purportedly home to the remains of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist and was built in the beginning of the 8th century
An image showing the mosque before the civil war with men, women and children walking through the courtyard enjoying the sunshine
He added: 'The bottom line is - if everything is okay - that means that the fighting around eastern Aleppo is over.'
Elsewhere, rebel officials said fighting would end this evening and a source in the pro-Assad military alliance said the evacuation of fighters would begin at around dawn on Wednesday. A reporter in Aleppo said that the booms of the bombardment could no longer be heard.
However, the war will still be far from over, with insurgents retaining their rural stronghold of Idlib province to the southwest of Aleppo, and ISIS holding swathes of the east and recapturing Palmyra this week.
Meanwhile Syrian forces were accused of 'massacring 82 civilians in their homes' during 'the century's worst humanitarian tragedy'.
The remains of a shell are pictured outside Aleppo's historic citadel earlier today. A ceasefire deal has now been struck between the government and the rebels
Just 10 years ago, the same citadel was bustling with tourists and visitors after Aleppo was named as the Arab world's Islamic cultural capital
The streets of the Old City of Aleppo are virtually unrecognisable after being bombarded by shells in some intense battles
The same street just seven years ago was a bustling shopping area filled with businesses and many cars on the road
It comes as harrowing photos emerged of dead children amid claims of a new chemical attack in a village in Syria's Uqayribat district.
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations said 93 people were killed and 300 injured in an apparent poison gas attack.
As reports of further atrocities emerged from Aleppo, France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said 'the worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century is unfolding before our eyes'.
Meanwhile, Aleppo citizens have posted harrowing 'death bulletins' pleading for help from the outside word as Syrian government forces swept through the city.
Terrified residents filmed themselves describing their plight in the besieged city with one doctor calling the situation 'apocalyptic' and another saying: 'This may be my last video'.
Militants in Aleppo said an agreement had been in place with Russia to cease bombardment in the city since this morning and that there should be a full ceasefire tonight. Syrian forces are pictured walking through the recaptured Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood
Rebel groups have announced a ceasefire in Aleppo after Syrian forces were accused of 'massacring 82 civilians in their homes' during 'the century's worst humanitarian tragedy'. Families were seen fleeing this afternoon
Militants in Aleppo said an agreement had been in place with Russia to cease bombardment in the city since this morning and that there should be a full ceasefire tonight
Syrian civilians take food from a storage room that was formerly held by the opposition forces in eastern Aleppo's al-Kalasseh neighbourhood
Harrowing photos have emerged of dead children amid claims of a new chemical attack in a village in Syria's Uqayribat district
Syrian troops were poised to recapture all of the country's war-torn second city. Rights group Amnesty International has described global inaction over the siege as 'shameful'
It comes as president Bashar al-Assad's forces were accused of shooting 82 Aleppo civilians in their homes and as the UN described a 'complete meltdown of humanity' in the war-torn city.
There are reports that 11 women and 13 children were among those killed in 'on the spot' shootings in the besieged Syrian city while 100 unaccompanied children are feared trapped in a building under heavy attack.
The reports emerged as Syrian troops were poised to recapture all of the country's war-torn second city. Rights group Amnesty International has described global inaction over the siege as 'shameful'.
Desperate residents have been filming themselves describing their plight in the besieged city with one doctor calling the situation 'apocalyptic'
Activist, Lena Shame (left), describes being in the 'middle of a genocide' while teacher Abdulkafi Alhamdo (right) added: 'We did not want anything else but freedom'
Aleppo citizens have posted harrowing 'death bulletins' pleading for help from the outside word as Syrian government forces sweep through the city
A member of the Syrian government forces stands in a severely damaged street in Aleppo's newly captured Al-Kalasseh neighbourhood
In videos posted online, one citizen, Salah Ashkar, begs for intervention to end the brutal assault on Aleppo, telling the camera: 'Please, there is no minute to spare. Please, please stand with Aleppo.'
Another man, named as media activist Omar Arab, is interrupted during his video by the sound of gunfire over head.
Activist, Lena Shame, describes being in the 'middle of a genocide' before adding: 'This may be my last video'.
Teacher Abdulkafi Alhamdo added: 'Many people now are being killed and just kept in the streets and their buildings. No one can help them. No way, no hospitals, no cure.
In another clip, he adds: 'We did not want anything else but freedom. This world doesn't like freedom it seems.'
A man called Dr al-Nasr, described the situation as 'apocalyptic'.
Fears have been growing for thousands of trapped civilians as rebels make a desperate last stand in their remaining pocket of territory in the former opposition stronghold.
The UN human rights office says it has received reports of forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad killing at least 82 civilians as they entered the last remaining strongholds of the rebels in eastern Aleppo.
Syrian pro-regime fighters are pictured as they past resident fleeing residents in the Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood of Aleppo today
The UN says it has had reports that 11 women and 13 children were among those killed in 'on the spot' shootings in the besieged Syrian city
Around 100 unaccompanied children are trapped in a building that is under heavy attack in besieged eastern Aleppo, the U.N. children's agency UNICEF said. Residents are pictured fleeing from the city
Advancing pro-government forces have reportedly entered homes and killed some civilians 'on the spot' in the former rebel enclave, according to UN spokesman Rupert Colville.
He said 11 women and 13 children were among those reportedly killed in four neighbourhoods of the increasingly-shrinking rebel enclave in the city of Aleppo.
But the Syrian army has denied carrying out killings or torture among those captured, and its main ally Russia said rebels had 'kept over 100,000 people as human shields'.
Meanwhile UNICEF Regional Director Geert Cappelaere said in a statement: 'According to alarming reports from a doctor in the city, many children, possibly more than 100, unaccompanied or separated from their families, are trapped in a building, under heavy attack in east Aleppo.'
UN chief Ban Ki-moon voiced alarm at reports of atrocities against civilians in Aleppo, where entire districts are in ruins and unclaimed bodies lie in the streets.
Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have said the battle for the city is in its 'final phase' after they seized more than 90 percent of the eastern districts which had been held by the rebels since 2012.
Pictures from Aleppo show government forces in the newly captured Al-Kalasseh neighbourhood
Carnage: Streets are filled with rubble after years of fierce battles between rebels and Assad's forces
The fall of Aleppo would be the rebel's worst defeat of the civil war and put the government in control of all five of Syria's main cities
The turnaround in the government's fortunes has come through decisive support from its allies Iran and Russia, which has waged a bombing campaign in support of Assad since September last year.
Early on Tuesday, troops were conducting searches in newly recaptured neighbourhoods around Aleppo's Old City, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
'The regime is combing the districts of Bustan al-Qasr, Kalasseh, Fardaws, and other neighbourhoods it seized yesterday (Monday),' Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
He said the regime was consolidating its control over those areas but had not made any fresh advances on Tuesday morning.
The fall of Aleppo would be the rebel's worst defeat of the civil war and put the government in control of all five of Syria's main cities.
An AFP correspondent in government-held west Aleppo said bombardment was heard overnight but had quietened by morning, when thick fog shrouded the city.
Residents of the sector gathered in the streets late into the night despite the rain, launching celebratory gunfire in a show of support for the army.
The carnage emerged as Syrian troops were poised to recapture all of the country's second city
A man carries a child with an IV drip as he flees deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo
The UN human rights office says it has received reports of forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad killing at least 82 civilians as they entered the last remaining strongholds of the rebels in eastern Aleppo
The Syrian army and allied fighters are poised to take control of the war-torn city
UN chief Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm over reports of atrocities against 'a large number of civilians, including women and children' in Aleppo, his spokesman Stephan Dujarric said Monday.
'While stressing that the United Nations is not able to independently verify these reports, the secretary general is conveying his grave concern to the relevant parties.'
The east of the city had been under army siege almost continuously since July.
SYRIAN GIRL WHO GAINED A HUGE TWITTER FOLLOWING SEES HER HOME BOMBED
Bana Alabed who gained a huge following on Twitter
By Anthony Joseph for MailOnline
A seven-year-old Syrian girl has had her new home wrecked and her dad has been injured in a rocket attack.
Bana Alabed, who gained a huge following on Twitter, due to her live tweets on the conflict in Aleppo,
Today she tweeted: 'My dad is injured now. I am crying.'
Another tweet read: 'My name is Bana, I'm 7 years old. I am talking to the world now live from East Aleppo. This is my last moment to either live or die. - Bana.'
Her mother Fatemah added: 'Our new house is hit with a rocket. This is the worst bombing I have ever seen. We are already convinced we will die.
'The army is so near now. I don't know what to do. Only way to flee is to regime side which I fear coz they will kill me. – Fatemah'
Last month Bana posted a heartbreaking picture of the bloodied body of a young friend who was killed in an air raid.
Bana, who tweets with help from her mother Fatemah, posted the haunting photo of her friend with a tear jerking caption.
'Oh dear world, I am crying tonight, this is my friend killed by a bomb tonight. I can't stop crying. - Bana,' she wrote from her home in the rebel held East Aleppo.
Since joining Twitter last September Bana has amassed close to 100,000 followers and frequently posts videos and photos of her grim life in Aleppo which is in the middle of a brutal tussle between government forces, ISIS and rebels.
Bana received a number of Harry Potter novels directly from author J.K. Rowling after her mother made a request to the writer over Twitter.
The girl, who speaks basic English, tweeted a sweet thank you video for Rowling.
'Hello my friend, I started reading your books now, my heart is for you. Thank you,' she said.
Rowling replied back with a tweet saying: 'This made me so happy! Lots of love to you and your brothers!'
On November 15, the army launched a blistering offensive to retake it with the support of Iran-backed militias.
A Syrian military official in Aleppo said late Monday: 'We're living the final moments before victory. '
Rebel fighters withdrew from six residential districts on Monday after government forces overran the key Sheikh Saeed neighbourhood on the city's southeastern outskirts.
The pullout leaves the rebels confined to just a handful of neighbourhoods in the southeast of the city, including Mashhad and part of Sukkari.
Syrian civilians flee the Sukkari neighbourhood towards safer rebel-held areas in southeastern Aleppo
Syrian pro-government forces patrol Aleppo's eastern al-Salihin neighbourhood
The International Committee of the Red Cross warned Tuesday that thousands of civilians were at risk 'as front lines close in around them in eastern Aleppo.'
'As the battle reaches new peaks and the area is plunged into chaos, thousands with no part in the violence have literally nowhere safe to run.
'This may be the last chance to save lives,' it said.
The government assault on east Aleppo has killed at least 415 civilians since mid-November, the Observatory says. Another 130 civilians have been killed by rebel fire on the west.
Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict have repeatedly failed, and weekend talks between Russia and the United States on a ceasefire to allow the evacuation of civilians made no breakthrough.
The White Helmets emergency service, which operates in rebel-held areas across Syria, said it had been unable to pull bodies out from under collapsed buildings because of the ferocity of the bombardment.
Syrian civilians flee the Sukkari neighbourhood towards safer rebel-held areas in south eastern Aleppo
'It's hell,' it said on Twitter on Tuesday.
According to the Observatory, an estimated 130,000 people have poured out of rebel-held neighbourhoods as the army has advanced.
In the rebel-held Mashhad neighbourhood, residents fleeing the army advance crowded the streets on Monday, witnesses said.
Displaced civilians - many hungry after fleeing without food - sat on pavements or lay on the street with nowhere else to go.
The government's lightning advance in Aleppo has not come without cost.
While the army's firepower has been focused on recapturing it, the Islamic State group has retaken the ancient city of Palmyra from which it was driven out in a high-profile Russian-backed offensive in March.
More than 300,000 people have been killed in nearly six years of civil war. Millions more have fled their homes.
ALEPPO UNDER SIEGE: TIMELINE OF A WAR-TORN CITY
The Syrian government's capture of eastern Aleppo, held for more than four years by rebels, marks a horrific new chapter for Syria's largest city. Here's a look at key events in Aleppo since the start of Syria's uprising nearly six years ago:
March 2011: Protests erupt in the southern city of Daraa over the detention of a group of boys accused of painting anti-government graffiti on the walls of their school. On March 18, security forces open fire on a protest in Daraa, killing four people in what activists regard as the first deaths of the uprising. Demonstrations spread, as does the crackdown by President Bashar Assad's forces, eventually igniting a full-scale civil war.
July 2012: Rebel fighters seize eastern Aleppo, dividing the city. The intense fighting that follows, including almost daily barrel bombs dropped on the poorer and more densely populated rebel-held east, causes an estimated 1 million civilians to flee. Another half million are displaced inside the eastern part of the city in the first year of the conflict.
The Syrian government's capture of eastern Aleppo, held for more than four years by rebels, marks a horrific new chapter for Syria's largest city
October 2012: The U.N. negotiates a short-lived truce for the whole city during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. Fighting destroys cultural and historic sites, including the Grand Umayyad mosque, which both sides fought to control.
December 2012: Rebels launch an offensive that expands their presence in Aleppo province and secures supply lines to the Turkish border. They seize a number of military and air bases, increasingly isolating government forces. All flights from Aleppo airport are suspended after al-Qaeda-linked fighters threaten to shoot down civilian planes.
January 2013: Bodies begin washing up on the banks of Aleppo's Queiq River, in the rebel-held Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood. Human Rights Watch says at least 147 bodies were retrieved from the river between January and March. It says the victims were most likely killed in government-controlled areas.
April 2013: Aleppo's ancient Citadel, used by government forces as a base, comes under rebel fire. The government targets the Umayyad mosque minaret, suspecting rebels were using it as a base. Amid the fighting, passageways between the two sides of the divided city emerge, allowing an informal link for residents, but also turning deadly at times, as sniper fire kills many.
August 2013: Insurgents gain control of the Aleppo-Damascus highway, tightening the siege on the government part of the city. Residents of eastern Aleppo take food and vegetables through illicit passageways to their relatives in western Aleppo.
October 2013: Poor coordination and infighting weaken the rebels' ranks. That winter, ISIS militants clash with the rebels, establishing a presence in the eastern part of the city.
A man sits amid debris near Umayyad mosque, in the government-controlled area of Aleppo, during a media tour, Syria
December 2013: The government begins an unprecedented campaign of dropping barrel bombs on Aleppo city and surrounding areas, driving more people out of eastern Aleppo. ISIS expands its presence in the eastern part of city.
January 2014: Rebels unite against ISIS, driving the extremists out of Aleppo city. Government forces exploit the fighting to push the rebels back.
May 2014: Using a new tactic, rebels tunnel beneath a hotel used as a government command and control center and blow it up. The government's barrel bomb campaign on eastern Aleppo intensifies.
March 2015: Insurgents blow up the Air Force Intelligence building in Aleppo after digging a tunnel, a symbolic victory. The newly formed Army of Conquest, which brings together rebels and al-Qaeda-linked fighters, seizes Idlib city to the northwest.
October 2015: Russia begins launching airstrikes to bolster Assad's forces. Syrian troops launch an offensive around Aleppo. Iraqi, Lebanese and Iranian militias also throw their weight behind the government, setting the stage for a wider offensive against Aleppo that would continue until the following year.
February 2016: Russia and the U.S. broker a cease-fire that excludes extremists. Signs of normal life return to Aleppo.
April 2016: The cease-fire collapses, bombing resumes, and the Castello road, the only road out of eastern Aleppo, becomes a death trap.
July 2016: The government and allied forces impose a full siege on eastern Aleppo, home to an estimated 250,000 people. Rebel fighters break the siege for a couple of weeks from the southern front, but it is re-imposed by August.
September 2016: A cease-fire negotiated by Russia and the United States holds for a few days, but talks to bring in aid go nowhere, and an airstrike hits a humanitarian aid convoy north of the city.
October 2016: Russia announces it is suspending its airstrikes on eastern Aleppo and designates humanitarian corridors, urging the rebels and residents to leave the eastern enclave. The rebels reject the offer, no one uses the corridors and the U.N. says it cannot carry out medical evacuations due to security concerns. The government continues its air raids on eastern Aleppo.
November 2016: The government launches a renewed and intensified aerial campaign. In late November, Syrian troops and allied forces launch a major ground offensive, rebel defenses crumble and thousands flee.
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