Fire on convoy halts Aleppo evacuation
Putin announces peace initiative, says Russia and Turkey will set up talks
An injured Syrian woman from Aleppo reacts while being transported from the Syrian side of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing to a hospital in Turkey on Friday. Pic/AFP
Beirut: The Syrian government suspended evacuations from eastern Aleppo hours after they resumed yesterday, saying rebels had opened fire on a convoy of evacuees at a crossing point with the enclave, state TV reported.
It wasn't clear how long the suspension would last or if it would delay the ceasefire deal under which tens of thousands of residents and rebels are being evacuated to opposition-controlled areas, a process likely to take days.
The Syrian TV also claimed that the rebels had tried to take with them captives they had seized and were holding in the rebel enclave during bitter battles to defend their territory from a weeks-long onslaught by Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops.
Earlier yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a major new Syria peace initiative, saying he and his Turkish counterpart are working to set up peace talks between Damascus and the opposition in Kazakhstan.
Rebels on alert: Commander
Rebels in eastern Aleppo went on high alert yesterday after pro-government forces prevented civilians leaving and deployed weaponry on the road, a Syrian rebel commander said. "Everyone is manning positions. Readiness is at the highest level," head of the Fastaqim rebel group said.
Bring peace to Syria, Santa told
Indian-origin Aarush Anand (7), staying in England, surprised his teacher during a class project on writing gift wishes to Santa Claus when he asked for peace in war-torn Syria. "The only thing I want for Christmas is peace, like in Syria,", the Nottingham High School student wrote.
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