Hezbollah says efforts to oust Assad have 'failed'
ALEPPO - The Syrian army's recapture of Aleppo has put an end to hopes that President Bashar al-Assad's regime could be ousted, the head of Lebanon's powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah said Friday.
"After Aleppo, one can comfortably say that the goal of regime downfall has failed," Hassan Nasrallah, whose Shiite party has fought alongside Assad's forces since 2013, said in a televised address.
"Because the regime has Damascus and Aleppo -- the two biggest cities in Syria -- and Homs, Hama, Latakia, Tartus, Sweida... this regime is present, strong, effective, and no one in the world can ignore it," Nasrallah said.
More than 310,000 people have been killed and millions forced to flee their homes since the conflict broke out in March 2011 with protests calling for Assad's ouster.
Syria's army on Thursday declared its full control over second city Aleppo, where Hezbollah fighters played a key role in the government's advance.
"What happened in Aleppo over these past long months... was a real war, one of the toughest battles that Syria has seen, and one of the toughest battles that the region has seen in years," Nasrallah said.
He described the Syrian government's win there as "a big victory for the side confronting terrorism".
In addition to help from Hezbollah, the Damascus regime has been bolstered by its allies Iran and Russia, while rebels have been backed by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and some western powers.
The deep international divisions over the Syrian crisis have hindered efforts to secure a diplomatic solution to the bloodshed.
But Nasrallah said that developments in Aleppo "could open new prospects for political solutions" to Syria's war.