Thursday, February 22, 2024

Evacuation on in Aleppo

An operation to evacuate a rebel-held enclave in the Syrian city of Aleppo is now under way, Red Cross officials say.
The ICRC is bringing out 200 wounded people. A fleet of ambulances and buses was also seen heading into eastern areas as part of a wider evacuation.
Fighters and civilians had been due to leave on Wednesday, but an earlier ceasefire collapsed.
Government forces took nearly all remaining rebel-held parts of Aleppo this week after a four-year battle.
Syrian state TV said that “4,000 rebels and their families would be evacuated from eastern districts on Thursday”, adding that “all the procedures for their evacuation are ready”.
A statement from the Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, part of Russia’s ministry of defence, said the Syrian authorities had guaranteed the safety of all members of the armed groups who decided to leave Aleppo.
Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia Muslim movement backing the Syrian government, said there had been “big complications” but that “intensive contacts between the responsible parties… led to re-consolidating a ceasefire to exit armed fighters from eastern districts in the next few hours”.
The rebels confirmed a new truce had come into effect at 03:00 GMT and that a new deal had been agreed.
Russia’s defence ministry has said buses will take the injured, civilians and rebel fighters to the neighbouring province of Idlib, most of which is controlled by a powerful rebel alliance that includes the jihadist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
The buses will reportedly leave Aleppo on the road through the government-controlled south-western district of Ramousseh heading towards the rebel-held town of Khan Touman, only about 8km (5 miles) away.
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, director of Doctors Under Fire, said its plan was to take the wounded to its main hospital 25km away, over the Turkish border.
The BBC’s Asaf Aboud, in Aleppo, says the government has indicated that the evacuated civilians will be able to choose whether they want to leave or stay in the city.

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