DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A statement by the Syrian armed forces says the northern city of Aleppo has returned to government control, ending a four-year rebel hold over parts of the city.

The statement broadcast on Syrian TV said the army has re-established "security" in the northern city after the last rebels evacuated from their final toe-hold in the eastern parts of the city.

The Syrian government's recapture of Aleppo is a major turning point in the Syrian civil war with potentially powerful political repercussions.

It represents a momentous victory for President Bashar Assad and a crushing defeat for Syria's opposition which will struggle to forge a way forward.

The ancient city has been divided into rebel and government parts since 2012.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.