Evacuations resume from Aleppo, following Syrian deal

World Today

Syrians evacuated from the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo during the ceasefire arrive at a refugee camp in Rashidin, near Idlib, Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. (AP Photo)

Syrian TV says rebel evacuations have resumed from Aleppo, paving the way for the government to reassume control of the war-torn city.

An Associated Press TV crew says four buses have arrived to the city’s rebel-held western countryside, marking the first successful evacuation in over 24 hours.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says there are 60 buses prepared to evacuate some 3,000 fighters and civilians from the opposition’s last foothold in the city. It is the last convoy set to leave Aleppo before the government is expected to declare it has reassumed full control of the city for the first time since rebels carved out an enclave for the opposition in 2012.

Syrian opposition forces agreed to surrender their last foothold in the city to the government last week. But a dispute delayed the final round of evacuations for over 24 hours after some 20,000 civilians and fighters were bused out of the war-torn city.

The evacuations came after Syrian rebels said they have reached an agreement with the government in Damascus on Wednesday to complete their withdrawal from Aleppo, the country’s largest city.

“An agreement has been reached to resume the evacuation of Aleppo,” announced Ahmad Qara Ali, spokesman for the Ahrar al-Sham faction. He said the evacuations would begin “shortly.”

The government agreed to allow the remaining residents — fighters and civilians — to leave as part of the agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey in Ankara last week.