Loyalists 'kill four civilian evacuees in Aleppo'
At least four civilians were killed by Syrian regime forces in Aleppo, local journalists confirmed, after more than 1,000 were rounded up and handcuffed amid a worsening humanitarian crisis.
"Sectarian militias had killed four civilians and wounded six others after being shot," the media coordinator for the civil defence, Khalid Khatib told The New Arab on Friday.
The reports were reiterated by journalists on the ground who confirmed the killings in the besieged area.
The latest development came as Syrian pro-regime forces halted evacuations from east Aleppo after an exchange of fire at the Ramoussa crossing where loyalists are demanding evacuations of opposition-besieged towns.
A correspondent for The New Arab said a shooting at Ramoussa, a government-held neighbourhood which evacuees had been passing through, had halted the eighth batch of evacuations.
Pro-regime fighters reportedly blocked the Ramoussa crossing, demanding the humanitarian situation in the two towns of Fuaa and Kefraya in Idlib province, which are besieged by opposition forces, is addressed first.
Farouq Abu Bakr, a negotiator for the opposition, confirmed to The New Arab that evacuation operations had been stopped to "ensure the safety of civilians".
The cease-fire deal, brokered by Damascus ally Moscow and rebel backers Turkey, broke down on Wednesday as fighting resumed and Iran introduced a new demand for the evacuation of the two Shia-majority villages in Idlib.
Thousands were expected to evacuate the villages, Fuaa and Kefraya, which have long been besieged by insurgents in the mostly rebel-held province. It was unclear why the evacuations had not yet begun, but a convoy set off to evacuate the villages on Thursday, Syrian state media said.
Thousands of civilians and rebels began to leave the last rebel-held parts of the city aboard buses and ambulances on Thursday under an evacuation deal that will allow the Syrian regime to take full control of Aleppo after years of fighting.
Some 50,000 remain trapped, according to UN envoy Staffan de Mistura.