After years of fighting, the Syrian government claimed victory on Tuesday over rebel groups holding out in the besieged city of Aleppo.  Reports of a ceasefire were confirmed by Russia’s envoy to the United Nations, stating that fighting would cease Tuesday evening to allow fighters that remain in rebel controlled regions of the city to leave for opposition held regions of the country to the west.

“My latest information is that they indeed have an arrangement achieved on the ground that the fighters are going to leave the city,” Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters. It could happen “within hours maybe,” he said.

Fierce fighting between the Russian-backed Syrian government and various opposition groups that include American-backed rebels as well as jihadist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS have been ongoing since 2011, when pro-democracy protests erupted all over the nation after the arrest and torture of a group of teenagers that painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall.  Security forces opened fire on demonstrators during the protests, prompting some to take up arms themselves.  What followed was a spiral into civil war that ultimately began involving other regional and world powers such as the United States and Russia.

Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, utilized a coalition of the Syrian army, Russian air strikes and Iran-backed militias to lay siege to rebel strongholds in Aleppo for months now.  Forcing the rebels from Aleppo represents the largest victory for the Syrian government thus far in the four years of fighting.