Middle East

Evacuation in eastern Aleppo resumes

With Turkey-Russia brokered deal in effect, thousands expected to be removed from war-torn city early this week

19.12.2016
Evacuation in eastern Aleppo resumes

By Levent Tok, Halit Suleyman, Mohamad Misto

ALEPPO, Syria

Evacuation in eastern Aleppo resumed early Monday with 500 people arriving in opposition-controlled areas west of the city, according to local sources.

The Syrian regime and opposition forces are implementing a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia earlier this month.

It entails the evacuation of 20,000 civilians and fighters from eastern Aleppo on Monday, and the rest Tuesday.

There will be evacuations in the cities of Madaya and al-Zabadani -- involving 1,500 people -- as well as in Shia towns of al-Fu’ah and Kefraya, which has a combined population of 15,000.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed the evacuation of civilians in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo on the phone, according to a presidential source.

Earlier this week, Syrian opposition forces in eastern Aleppo reached a cease-fire deal with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to evacuate civilians from the city.

Since then, at least 7,500 civilians have left Aleppo for safe areas in Idlib -- which is located near the border with Turkey -- according to Syrian opposition group officials.

Recent weeks have witnessed intensifying reports of violence against civilians in Aleppo -- once an opposition stronghold.

The United Nations and Western powers issued calls on Moscow and Damascus to allow safe evacuation of civilians and cooperating opposition fighters as Russian and Syrian forces bombarded and encircled the city.

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