Humanitarian evacuation of eastern Aleppo appears to be completed

Hundreds of rebel fighters and civilians, including small children swaddled in thick blankets, were bused out of war-ravaged Aleppo in heavy snow on Wednesday as the evacuation of former rebel strongholds entered its final phase. Scenes of buses slowly driving out of Aleppo in a shroud of white offered an evocative finale to what has been one of the most brutal chapters in Syria’s civil war.

The evacuation of the Syrian city of Aleppo has now come to a close, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and multiple other officials and a rebel group said.

A group of buses scheduled to evacuate the last civilians and rebels from eastern Aleppo had been delayed, Syrian state-run media said, blaming infighting among rebel factions.

More than 4,000 fighters left rebel-held areas of Aleppo, the Red Cross said Thursday, in the last stages” of an evacuation clearing the way for Syria’s army to retake the city.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted Tuesday that 37,500 people had been evacuated from the war-torn city so far, adding that “all evacuations are intended to be finished [shortly].”

The Assad government has retaken Aleppo from rebel groups who have controlled parts of the city since 2012. The government has made significant territorial gains after its forces, backed by airstrikes, entered rebel-held areas in late November.

[CNN, AFP, Yahoo]

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