In a cell phone interview, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the people of Syria were ''writing history'' with the liberation of Aleppo, and that the outcome of the Syrian war will not only impact Syria itself but will change the region and the world. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
SUBTITLED ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday (December 15) that the people of Syria were "writing history" with the liberation of Aleppo. He said in a statement published by the Syrian Presidency that the city's liberation will not only affect the situation in Syria but will change the region and the world. "I think after liberating Aleppo we will say not only Syrian situation but also the regional and international situation is different before liberating Aleppo and after it. Here time became history. Aleppo converted time into history. Aleppo is Aleppo citizens with their resistance, Syrian army's courage and every Syrian citizen who stood by Aleppo and his whole country. These all are history," Assad said. An operation to evacuate thousands of civilians and fighters from the last rebel bastion in Aleppo was under way on Thursday (December 15), part of a ceasefire deal that would end years of fighting for the city and mark a major victory for Assad. The International Committee of the Red Cross said the evacuation of around 200 wounded people had started. Russia, a major ally of Assad, said 5,000 Syrian rebels and family members were being brought out of eastern Aleppo. The convoy of 10 ambulances and at least 17 green buses with nearly 1,000 aboard drove from the Ramousah district next to the rebel-held area of Aleppo, which was besieged for months by Syrian government forces, a Reuters reporter on the scene said. Syrian state television said those leaving were opposition fighters. Rebel officials have said that civilians who wish to leave will also be able to do so as part of the ceasefire and evacuation deal. Footage of the buses appeared to show that most of those inside were young men.