Hundreds of people have gathered in the western quarter of Aleppo to light up a sparkling and gigantic Christmas tree as they begin to get back to normal life in the embattled city, which has recently been liberated from the grip of Takfiri militants.
On Tuesday evening, people converged on al-Azizieh Square in western Aleppo to count down as the Christmas tree lights were being turned on.
The participants waved Syrian and Russian flags as well as that of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, while a band in in Santa Claus suits played brass instruments to evoke an exultant mood.
Following weeks-long counterterrorism operations, the Syrian army, backed by Russian air power, managed earlier this month to retake the eastern parts of Aleppo, which had fallen to militants back in 2012.
A mission is currently underway to evacuate the remaining civilians and armed men from Aleppo’s formerly militant-held areas. The evacuations are part a ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey.
The celebration in Aleppo comes amid ongoing army operations against the terrorists on the outskirts of the city and elsewhere in the country.
Earlier in the day, Syrian fighter jets pounded militant positions in the city of Anadan, situated 12 kilometers north of Aleppo, as well as Hayyan town. Scores of foreign-backed Takfiri militants were killed in the aerial attacks.
Separately, Syrian forces targeted four pick-up trucks equipped with heavy machineguns in the Rasm al-Harmel district of Deir Hafer town, which lies near the Air Force Academy in southeastern Aleppo, destroying the vehicles and leaving a number of militants onboard dead.
Elsewhere in the central province of Homs, Syrian army soldiers struck terrorists’ hideouts in the town of al-Ghantoo, located 12 kilometers north of Homs, plus Deir Ful and al-Wa’ra villages.
Syria’s privately-owned and Arabic-language Sama television network also reported that more than 70 civilians had left the besieged towns of al-Foua and Kefraya in the northwestern province of Idlib, and arrived in the western port city of Latakia.
The evacuation process in the two villages is also part of the Aleppo truce deal.