Rebels allow besieged villages' evacuation to aid Aleppo deal

Rebels allow besieged villages' evacuation to aid Aleppo deal
Syrian rebel groups have agreed to allow wounded civilians of rebel-besieged areas of Idlib to be evacuated after pro-government militias halted the east Aleppo operation to relocate thousands of civilians.
2 min read
16 December, 2016
Evacuation of east Aleppo was suspended after Syrian forces claimed rebels violated the deal [Getty]
Syrian rebels have agreed to allow the evacuation of injured civilians from the rebel-besieged towns of Fuaa and Kefraya after pro-regime militias halted east Aleppo evacuations in protest.

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front, has agreed to let wounded civilians out of the Shia majority villages in Idlib province, a Syrian rebel source told Reuters.

As the last rebel group to agree to the evacuation, the source said the operation could start as early as Friday.

Rebel sources previously said they had agreed to an evacuation of the wounded from Fuaa and Kefraya as part of the ceasefire deal to evacuate insurgents and civilians from east Aleppo.

However convoys leaving east Aleppo were halted on Friday morning as pro-government forces claimed rebels were not meeting their end of the deal.

Syrian state TV also claimed the rebels had violated the agreement by taking hostages and weapons out of the city as they left.

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.