Syrian regime says it has taken full control of Aleppo

Aleppo, Syria (CNN) — The Syrian regime says it has taken full control of Aleppo, state-run media announced Thursday, marking a major turning point in the nation’s five-year civil war.

Government forces and their allies are now in control of eastern Aleppo, ending more than four years of rebel rule in the area.

Syrian forces and pro-Assad militia entered eastern Aleppo by ground in late November.

The regime and Russia, its most powerful ally, have decimated neighborhoods with airstrikes.

Earlier Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said heavy snowfall and rickety vehicles have slowed the evacuation of thousands of civilians and rebel fighters from eastern Aleppo.

The snow brought other challenges to humanitarian organizations dealing with the exodus.

The evacuations come under a complex people-swap agreement that essentially allows rebels to go to rebel-held areas and pro-regime civilians and fighters to be moved to regime-controlled places.

An estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed and more than 4.81 million have fled the country since the war began in 2011, according to the United Nations.

CNN’s Angela Dewan, Natalie Gall√≥n and Eyad Kourdi contributed to this report.

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