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State media: Evacuation buses start to leave Aleppo

Reporter: Alaa Ebrahim 丨 CCTV.com

12-19-2016 09:17 BJT

Syrian state television has reported that a number of buses containing fighters and their families have started leaving the last rebel-held sector in eastern Aleppo.

The report says rebels and government forces have reached a deal to resume evacuations from eastern Aleppo.

The agreement is conditional on civilians also being allowed to leave two Shi'ite villages besieged by insurgents, and two other towns besieged by government forces.

However, it has been reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian state television, that buses en route to evacuate people from the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, have been attacked and burned. Many of the residents in the two villages are Shi'ite Muslims.

It is another day and there's been another failed attempt to evacuate residents of eastern Aleppo. Buses lined up and people gathered all day Sunday waiting to get out.

It was hoped that the deal that stumbled for days would finally take hold and end the ordeal of tens of thousands of civilians along with several thousand rebel fighters.

But the deal that failed before over the evacuation of sick and wounded persons from two loyalists towns found trouble in those towns again.

Civilians in Foa'a and Kefrya were supposed to leave simultaneously on Sunday but as the buses were on their way - the vehicles came under attack and were set on fire.

Rebel sources tell CCTV that fighters from the radical group Jabhat Fatah al-Sham - formerly known as al-Nusra Front - an Al Qaeda affiliate -- carried out the attack.

The attack puts the fate of thousands of fighters and civilians in Aleppo, Kefrya and Foa'a in continued danger as supplies are running low.

A source in the Syrian army allies' operation room - A title usually used to refer to Iranian and Hezbollah fighters fighting alongside government forces - told reporters that militants in eastern Aleppo will now have to wait until civilians are allowed out of Kefrya and Foa'a towns, blaming rebels for any delay in both evacuations.

Fighting in Syria goes on. For now, rebels seem unable to formulate a unified stand -- and the government seems adamant against giving rebels a free pass out of Aleppo. So, the fate of tens of thousands of civilians remains uncertain.

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