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Evacuation of rebel-held east Aleppo under way

December 15, 2016 4:12 pm

Close to 1000 civilians and 26 wounded, including several children, have been evacuated from a besieged rebel-held enclave in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Syrian state TV showed footage of ambulances and a long line of green buses leaving eastern Aleppo.

The first convoys were first stopping at a “handover point” in the rebel-held area of Khan al-Aassal, west of the city.

The evacuation of civilians, rebels and their families had been due to take place on Wednesday but an earlier ceasefire deal collapsed.

The rebels confirmed a fresh ceasefire had come into effect and that a new deal had been agreed.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Middle East regional director Robert Mardini said its operation was “well under way” and that “our teams are safe and doing all they can on the ground”.

The ICRC expected to get 2000 people out of east Aleppo by the end of the day.

As the evacuation got under way, a rebel official said ambulances leaving the eastern part of the Syrian city had been shot at by pro-government fighters.

The White Helmets civil defence group tweeted that one senior volunteer had been shot and injured by a sniper while clearing an evacuation route for ambulances.

Twenty passenger buses and 10 ambulances were being used for the operation, the chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, Gen Valery Gerasimov, said. Some rebels were using their own vehicles, numbering 100, he said.