Aleppo evacuation back on

Updated: Dec 20, 2016, 09:58 IST | Agencies

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Bana Alabed with a Turkish aid worker after leaving Aleppo. Pic courtesy: @MBURAKKRCGLU

Beirut: An operation to bring thousands of people out of the last rebel-held enclave of Aleppo was underway again yesterday after being held up for days, together with the evacuation of two besieged pro-government villages in the nearby Idlib province.

Convoys of buses from eastern Aleppo reached rebel-held areas of countryside to the west of the city, according to a UN official and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group.

At the same time, 10 buses left the Shi'ite Muslim villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, north of Idlib, for government lines in Aleppo, sources said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said 4,500 had been evacuated since midnight on Sunday.

The evacuation of civilians, including the wounded, from the two villages had been demanded by the Syrian army and its allies before they would allow fighters and civilians trapped in Aleppo to depart. The standoff halted the evacuation over the weekend.

Evacuated Syrians arrive in the opposition-controlled Khan al-Assal region on Monday.Pic/AFP

"First limited evacuations, finally, tonight from east Aleppo and Foua & Kefraya. Many thousands more are waiting to be evacuated soon," Jan Egeland, who chairs the United Nations aid task force in Syria, tweeted late on Sunday night.

The Security Council was expected to vote in New York later yesterday on a resolution to allow UN staff to monitor the evacuations.

Aleppo's tweeting girl safely out
Bana Alabed (7), who has been tweeting from eastern Aleppo, has been safely evacuated. She was among the first groups out after evacuations resumed from Aleppo late on Sunday. "I would like to say thank you to all who have been asking about our news," she told Turkish news agency Anadolu

47 kids leave Aleppo orphanage: UN
Many children trapped in an orphanage in east Aleppo were evacuated yesterday, UNICEF said. "All 47 were evacuated, with some critical from injuries and dehydration," Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director, said.

12,000
Number of civilians evacuated from Aleppo so far

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