Assad delivers ultimatum to Aleppo Kurds

Kurdish forces will have to hand over control of their enclave of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo to the Damascus regime by the end of the year, according to an Assad military advisor. The statement from the advisor, named as Ali Maqsud, was reported in a Dec. 22 tweet from independent Kurdish news agency Rudaw. After Syrian victory in eastern Aleppo, the government will take control of the whole city, Ali Maqsud told Rudaw. The Syrian government will prompt the People's Protection Units (YPG) to hand over their positions in the city to the Syrian army, he said. The ultimatum came as the Damascus regime announced that it is now in control of all Aleppo after the last civilians and rebel fighters were evacuated the eastern neighborhoods.

"The general command of the armed forces announces the return of security to Aleppo after its release from terrorism and terrorists, and the departure of those who stayed there," reads a statement issued by the army's general command.

The predominantly Kurdish Sheikh Maqsoud is now the only area of the city not under Damascus' control. Under the control and protection of the YPG, it is hosting more than 10,000 civilians who fled army advances into eastern Aleppo. Maqsud said that Damascus held meetings with Kurdish leaders and gave them until the end of December to vacate the city. The YPG and Syrian army have clashed sporadically throughout the six-year civil war but have largely avoided sustained confrontation. (Rudaw, Dec. 23)