Mixed blessings.

This woman, Mrs Fatima Al Abed, is clearly exhausted, stoic but close to tears, in this video, uploaded by Qasioun News Agency at 10:19:57GMT yesterday (12.19pm Syrian time). Her daughter, Bana, looks similarly worn out, before disengaging herself and vanishing. The other two, smaller, children can I think be seen. My guess is that mother and daughter are both reluctant celebrities – they have other priorities as they are now homeless:

Meanwhile, on the same day, yesterday, a truck was driven deliberately into a Christmas market under the “Blue Church” ruin in Berlin and the Russian ambassador in Ankara was assassinated.

Turkey’s immense contribution towards the Aleppo evacuation cannot be underrated. She dumped the U.N. and the U.S. and has struck out on her own. She has adopted the moral approach, is doing the right thing and, for those reasons, has become strong, Russia – I think willingly – falling into line, though the Iranians and Assad will require some very firm treatment, in the days ahead. Argument may force them towards cessation and transition. In this regard, the clearance of the Aleppine ghetto, once complete, also clears the field, and is not a defeat for the revolution. Putin has declared his pitch: he wants a ceasefire throughout. We will see who agrees and who obstructs, the likely candidates not necessarily the only ones. Neither Erdogan nor Putin lack enemies – but so long as they are not one another’s, this remarkable fusion between Islam and Orthodoxy should create the virtue so conspicuously lacking elsewhere. Those who have sat on their hands, and only babbled with their mouths, these last five years must now find the nominal piety required for their silence. They have plenty of distractions of their own devising – climate change, health regulations, the playschool of finance – to keep them busy. They are not on the ground in Syria. Mrs Al Abed is.