Published: 17 December 2016 Saturday, 07:41 AM
Conflicting messages are coming from Syria, Turkey and Russia following the suspension of a ceasefire agreement between the latter two countries which was supposed to see tens of thousands of people evacuated from Aleppo to rebel-held Idlib.
Syrian government forces are now demanding opposition fighters in the besieged Shi’ite villages of Al-Foua and Kefraya should also be brought out.
The rebels claim Jabhat al-Sham – formerly the Al-Nusra Front – has agreed to release the wounded from the two areas and both they and Turkey have accused the government of obstruction.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said evacuations were continuing.
“There were fewer evacuations – only six convoys left the city. And answering the question ‘are civilians evacuated?’ Yes at this point only civilians have been evacuated.”
Syria’s government-run SANA news agency claims over 8,000 rebels and civilians have been brought out so far, while Russia’s Tass agency quoted a Moscow Defence official as saying the whole evacuation process has been completed.
The United Nations estimates some 50,000 people remain in eastern Aleppo.