Syrians walk on a snow-covered street in the town of Maaret al-Numan, in Syria’s northern province of Idlib. AFP / Mohamed al-Bakour
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Syrian President Bashar Assad appeared close to victory in Aleppo Wednesday, but United Nations and rebel officials denied that an operation to evacuate fighters and civilians from the city had been completed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group that monitors the war, said Assad had control of Aleppo after the last fighters were brought out of the city and only one small position on the western outskirts remained in rebel hands. People had been waiting in freezing temperatures since the evacuation hit problems on Tuesday, when dozens of buses were stuck in Aleppo, and the evacuation of two Shi'ite villages outside the city, al-Foua and Kefraya, also stalled.About 30,000 people have been evacuated from Aleppo, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.Syrian state TV said Wednesday the army would enter the last remaining rebel-held sector of Aleppo as soon as all fighters had left.The United Nations had said it had sent 20 more staff to east Aleppo to monitor the evacuation.
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