Pope Francis appealed again to stop the endless loss of innocent lives in Aleppo through a letter sent to President Bashar al-Assad.
The message from the Pope was given by new Cardinal Archbishop Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Syria, to the president of Syria which contained the Pope's desire for the civilians to be protected and the civil war to be stopped.
The Vatican confirmed the meeting of Cardinal Zenari and Assad which happened on December 12. "In naming Archbishop Mario Zenari to the College of Cardinals, the Holy Father sought to show a particular sign of affection for the beloved Syrian people, so sorely tried in recent years," the Vatican statement said.
"In a letter sent through the new cardinal, Pope Francis expressed again his appeal to President Bashar al-Assad and to the international community for an end to the violence, and the peaceful resolution of hostilities, condemning all forms of extremism and terrorism from whatever quarter they may come, and appealing to the president to ensure that international humanitarian law is fully respected with regard to the protection of the civilians and access to humanitarian aid."
At the same time, Syrian government forces announced control over most of the opposition forces residing in the east of Aleppo.
Russia's ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin stated that military activities in Aleppo are stopped. He announced that the Syrian government forces have gained control over all of east Aleppo and it is now time to conduct 'practical humanitarian initiatives.'
According to CNN, arrangement for a ceasefire went through, and evacuation agreement has been followed through. Residents were sent text messages from rebel leaders stating the conditions of the ceasefire. Aleppo Media Center also announced the news on social media to inform the civilians that evacuation of people from besieged areas are given safe passages.
After a December 11 Angelus at St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis mentioned that he is always close to the people of Aleppo, especially in prayers. "We must not forget that Aleppo is a city and that there are people there: families, children, elderly, sick," he said.
"Unfortunately, we have become used to the war and destruction, but we must not forget that Syria is a country full of history, culture and faith. We cannot allow this to be negated by war, which is a pile of abuse and falsity."