Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, assisted by Russia and Iran, saw his forces retake Aleppo in the biggest victory against rebels in almost six years of civil war. Assad says he’ll turn his attention to the remaining opposition strongholds. His opponents vow to keep fighting in the absence of a political solution. There could be a surge in guerrilla conflict in areas reclaimed by Assad’s troops, while jihadists look to exploit any weaknesses. The world’s reaction to all this may depend on the emerging relationship between Russia and the incoming U.S. president, Donald Trump.
Much of eastern Aleppo, a symbolic center for the anti-Assad insurgency, is in ruins, leveled by Syrian and Russian bombing that led European and U.S. officials to speak of possible war crimes. French ambassador to the United Nations, Francois Delattre, called events unfolding in the city “the worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st-century.”