Saturday, December 17, 2016

4,000 rebels, family members to quit east Aleppo

At least 4,000 rebels and their families will be evacuated from the last opposition-held districts of Syria's Aleppo, state television reported on Thursday.

"Four thousand rebels with their families will be evacuated from the eastern districts of Aleppo," the television said in a breaking news alert.

"All the procedures for their evacuation are ready," it added.

Buses were waiting to carry out the evacuations under a new agreement reached after a first plan collapsed on Wednesday amid fresh fighting.

The deal, brokered by Syrian regime ally Moscow and opposition supporter Ankara, will mark the end of years of fighting for control of the second city and a major victory for President Bashar al-Assad.

A source close the regime with knowledge of the negotiations said the army "will receive the names of all evacuees," as part of the deal.

The issue of the handover of a list of names had reportedly been one factor in the collapse of the earlier deal.

The source also said the agreement would involve the evacuation of sick and wounded residents of Fuaa and Kafraya, two government-held villages in Idlib province that are besieged by rebel forces.

The army began an offensive to recapture east Aleppo in mid-November, and now holds more than 90 percent of the onetime rebel bastion.