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Evacuation underway in Aleppo

Following initial fears that renewed skirmishes between Russian-back Syrian government troops and rebels would scuttle the evacuation of people from Aleppo, aid workers today confirmed that some civilians, rebels, and their families are now being bussed out of the destroyed city.

A long line of green buses and ambulances were seen leaving eastern Aleppo on Thursday.

The delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria (ICRC) reported through its Twitter account that its operation to evacuate as many as 200 wounded civilians from east Aleppo was underway.

ICRC Syria ‏@ICRC_sy 5h5 hours ago
HAPPENING NOW: 20 buses & 13 ambulances crossing the frontline with civilians from east #Aleppo, some critically wounded. @SYRedCrescent

Twenty buses and 13 ambulances were “crossing the frontline with civilians from east Aleppo, some critically wounded,” the organization tweeted.  It said that with the Syrian Red Crescent it has evacuated around 1,000 civilians, including 300 children and 28 wounded.

 

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Buses filled with the injured, civilians and fighters will be driven to the neighbouring province of Idlib, according to a report from the BBC. Much of the province is under the control of a rebel alliance the jihadist group Jabhat Fateh-al-Sham, formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front.

 

The buses drove through the government-controlled south-western district towards the rebel-held towns of Khan Touman and Kan al-Asal.

Soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the support of their Russian allies, took nearly all of the remaining areas where some anti-Assad rebels were holding out this week. This represented a victory for the regime after a bitter four-year battle with the rebels.

A ceasefire was called on Wednesday to allow civilians and rebels to leave Aleppo. But the ceasefire broke down.

The state-controlled television station in Syria said that “4,000 rebels and their families would be evacuated from the eastern districts on Thursday.”

The Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, which is a part of Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, reported that Syrian authorities have guaranteed the safety of all members of armed groups that decide to leave Aleppo.

“Within last 24 hours, 4 truce agreements have been signed with representatives of an inhabited area of the Latakia and Tartus provinces,” the centre reported on Wednesday. “The total number of inhabited areas, the leaders of which had signed reconciliation agreements, has reached 1055.”

 

 

However, on Wednesday the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that pro-government forces entering Aleppo killed at least 82 civilians, including 11 women and 13 children.

“Thousands of people who remain in areas under the control of armed groups are at risk of grave violations, including detentions, torture, and killings,” the report said.

 

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