Syrians’ Evacuation from Eastern Aleppo Resumes after One-Day Suspension: UN

Syrians’ Evacuation from Eastern Aleppo Resumes after One-Day Suspension: UN
Wed Dec 21, 2016 21:08:41

The process of evacuating civilians from formerly militant-held eastern Aleppo has resumed after a one-day suspension amid diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the almost six-year-long conflict in Syria, says a UN official.

"Buses are now moving again from eastern Aleppo. We hope that this continues so that people can be safely evacuated," UN spokesman Jensen Clarke said in the Swiss city of Geneva on Wednesday.

He further noted that more UN staff had arrived in eastern Aleppo to help monitor the evacuation in line with a recent Security Council resolution that urged the quick deployment of monitors.

Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were 60 buses prepared to take some 3,000 militants and civilians out of eastern Aleppo.

It is assumed to be the last convoy set to leave Aleppo before the Syrian government declares full control over the city.

Earlier on Wednesday, foreign-backed militants announced that they had reached a deal with the Damascus government to complete their withdrawal from Aleppo.

"An agreement has been reached to resume the evacuation of Aleppo," said Ahmad Qara Ali, spokesman for the Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group, adding that the process would begin "shortly."

The Aleppo evacuation is part of a fragile ceasefire deal, brokered by Turkey and Russia last week, which also allows residents of the terrorist-besieged al-Foua and Kefraya to leave the villages.

However, a dispute between Syria’s warring sides delayed the final round of evacuations for some 24 hours after about 20,000 people were bused out of Aleppo.

Syrian state media reported on Tuesday that "differences among terrorist groups" were holding up the evacuations from Aleppo as well as al-Foua and Kefarya.

'Harsh' weather

Ingy Sedky, Damascus spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said the humanitarian institution had already taken out 750 people from the twin villages, but some 1,500 more still required evacuation.

Moreover, the ICRC confirmed the resumption of the Aleppo evacuation, warning of "harsh" weather conditions.

"All patients have been evacuated, al-Quds hospital (the only remaining hospital in the enclave), is now empty, and all other urgent medical cases have now been evacuated," ICRC spokeswoman Kris Armstrong said.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Moscow, Tehran and Ankara had agreed to guarantee the Syria peace talks, while backing the expansion of the Aleppo ceasefire in the Arab country.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian crisis since March 2011. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources, Press TV reported.


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