Residents who fled eastern Aleppo for government-held areas early in the war begin returning to Hanano district recently captured from the rebels. Nathan Frandino reports.
It was a homecoming years in the making. Hundreds of residents returning home...carrying smiles and the Syrian flag. Here in Aleppo's Hanano district, residents cannot contain their excitement. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HANANO RESIDENT, FADIA HARRO, SAYING: "I have nothing to say. I can't describe my happiness. It is ok, our homes were destroyed but we gained victory and returned." After the Syrian army recaptured the district from rebels, it called on residents to return home, with a promise to retake all of Aleppo soon. A source said the army aims to take full control within weeks. A win would deal a major blow to the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad. Inside the district, residents inspected homes they had not seen in years. Despite extensive damage, residents say they're happy to be back. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HANANO RESIDENT, QAMAR, SAYING: "We became alive once again. We vowed to kiss the soil of Hanano because we were born here and grew up here. We have so many nice memories here. It wasn't like this but by god's will, everything will be made up." And with momentum on the army's side, residents hope they won't be leaving home anytime soon.