Aleppo Evacuation Moves Forward Under New Agreement

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Syrian Loyalists and rebel forces have reached an evacuation agreement following the breakdown of a previous truce yesterday. The new deal will allow for the evacuation of 15,000 people from the villages of Foua and Kefraya, currently besieged by rebels, in return for the evacuation of “militants and their families and whoever wants to leave among civilians” from Aleppo.

Some groups don’t appear to have gotten the message, with the media arm of the Hezbollah militia stating: “The negotiations are seeing big complications, in light of tension and operations on the front lines.”

According to the same unit, a total of 14,000 people want to leave the city.

The previous truce broke down less than 24 hours ago, amid renewed government bombing that saw many residents of the embattled city broadcasting final messages on various social media platforms.

“To everyone who can hear me, we are here exposed to a genocide in the besieged city of Aleppo.” One woman said. “This may be my last video.”

Destroyed tanks in front of a mosque in Syria. Source.

Government forces appear to have slaughtered at least 82 civilians in their homes while closing in on rebel-held territory. 50,000 civilians are believed to remain in the eastern portions of Aleppo still controlled by various rebel groups.

Rebel forces are expected to head for the Idlib province, where they still hold a significant amount of territory and will be able to dig in against further attacks.

The loss of their holdings in Aleppo will be a significant blow to the rebels – the city served as their de facto capital in the region, and provided a semblance of legitimacy to the anti-government forces. But a joint bombing campaign by Russian and Syrian air units earlier this month proved to be the final straw in a battle that has raged for over four years, with rebel forces  and civilians incurring severe casualties.

UN war crimes investigators will hold Bashar Al-Assad responsible for any reprisals against those leaving the city.

Feature image source under Creative Commons 2.0.