|mwaniki wanjiku |||Dec 25, 2016 10:52 PM EST|
(Photo : Getty Images) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have regained control of Aleppo with the help of Russia.
Syrian President Bashar Assad expressed his gratitude to Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the Russian people for Moscow's help in retaking Aleppo from opposition fighters.
The two leaders had a phone conversation, which was initiated by Putin, on Friday after Assad's government resumed full control of the city of Aleppo.
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"The two sides discussed during the phone call the next political process in Syria, with President al-Assad thanking President Putin and Russia as a key ally for Syria, which contributed along with other allies to liberating Aleppo," Syrian state media reported.
Assad reportedly offered his opinion that victories in Aleppo paved way for political work in Syria and that they will push many rival factions to the political track and reconciliation.
The phone conversation between the two leaders was also picked up by Russian state media.
"The main task now is to concentrate efforts on issues of advancing a peace settlement, in particular, through concluding an agreement on comprehensive settlement of the Syrian crisis," Putin said.
Aleppo is one of the biggest cities in Syria and was a key battleground in the bloody conflict between forces loyal to Bashar Assad and rebel groups trying to oust him. The war has led to widespread death and destruction of infrastructure.
In September, the United States and Russia tried to institute a ceasefire in the city, but the deal collapsed after Washington failed to convince militants opposed to Assad to honor the truce.
The Russian military is currently helping to clear mines from the liberated city. They are also providing humanitarian aid to returning residents.
Russia has also sent an elite force to guard aid workers and convoys.
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