Russia confirms 169 civilians were able to leave the opposition-held east of Syria’s Aleppo city through a “humanitarian corridor”. Dozens of families were reportedly among the evacuees.
Russia also confirmed 69 rebels had laid down arms and 59 people received medical treatment, according to the statement.
The Syrian news agency SANA said evacuees were welcomed by members of the army and taken by bus to temporary shelters. The agency carried photos showing dozens of people, mostly women and children, walking past soldiers and boarding buses. State television also broadcast footage of residents crossing from the east to the west.
SANA also reported that “armed men from eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo” had turned themselves in to army soldiers in Salaheddin district.
Russia’s defence ministry announced four additional “humanitarian corridors” would be open from Aleppo. Three corridors had already begun working in the area, it said.
Once Syria’s economic powerhouse, Aleppo has been ravaged by the war that began in March 2011 with anti-government protests. It has been roughly divided between government control in the west and rebel control in the east since mid-2012.