Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:31AM
Syrian troops in the Jisr al-Haj neighborhood in Aleppo on December 14, 2016 (photo by AFP)
Syrian troops in the Jisr al-Haj neighborhood in Aleppo on December 14, 2016 (photo by AFP)
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These are some of the headlines we are tracking for you in this episode of On the News Line:

Aleppo: Liberated at last

Convoys of foreign-backed militants leaving Aleppo under an evacuation deal with the Syrian government. The militants had no choice but to acquiesce to the deal after their heavy defeat in the battle for Aleppo, otherwise known as the mother of all battles among militant groups themselves. The liberation of Aleppo is undoubtedly a turning point in the five-plus-year conflict, which Damascus has blamed on an international conspiracy hatched by its enemies to bring about regime change in the country. Months before the full liberation of Aleppo, Western media and governments as well as their regional allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey had resigned to what they called the fall of the city to the Syrian army and allied fighters. 

Trump's surprise pick for secretary of state

Trump’s pick for America’s top diplomat has raised eyebrows. The property tycoon unveiled his pick in a last-minute twist, nominating a Texan oilman for the secretary of state, deemed as the most important post in the cabinet. Tillerson has been chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil since 2006. He has no experience in the government. He is also seen as a world-class oil deal-maker who forged close ties with US allies, including oil-rich Arab countries, and Washington’s adversaries, including Russia and Venezuela. Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and former defense secretary Robert Gates recommended Trump to consider Tillerson as secretary of state.



Mogherini's staunch support for JCPOA

New signs have emerged to show that Europe is becoming increasingly determined to keep the Iran nuclear deal from falling apart. This, in the face of threats by US President-elect Donald Trump to tear it apart.  EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made headlines this past Wednesday when she came out in full support of the Iran deal. She told The Wall Street Journal that Trump would put the United States on a collision course with Russia if he decided to back away from the Iran deal. Some are now speculating that Mogherini’s statement was a message to the US that it will have to face Russia if President-elect Trump decides to back away from the Iran nuclear deal. According to the Journal, she also said that the EU’s position may match that of Russia in the event of a unilateral scrapping of the Iran deal by the US.