Aleppo Evacuation Begins: End Of Fighting Spelled Victory For Syrian Government

( [email protected] ) Dec 15, 2016 09:53 PM EST
The exodus of civilians from the beleaguered city of Aleppo has begun as thousands are expected to be shuttled out of the city in the next few days. Rebel fighter have also been granted safe passage to areas beyond government control.
Civilians, who fled from Islamic State-controlled areas, sit on a pick-up truck at a checkpoint controlled by rebel fighters in the northern Syrian rebel-held town of al-Rai, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

Ambulances and buses have started transporting evacuees from the beleaguered east Aleppo after the Syrian government and rebels finally agreed to a ceasefire ending the four- year Syrian civil war.

Close to 1000 people boarded the first convoy of buses and ambulances that finally got into the previously rebel-held areas of the city, with thousands more expected to be shuttled out of the areas in the next few hours, according to a report from Reuters.

Robert Mardini, an official of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that they received reports that there were no less than 3000 civilians and dozens of injured patients have been evacuated during the last few days. Many of these evacuees have already been brought to nearby evacuation centers and medical attention for the wounded.

No definite plans, however, have been laid our regarding rebel fighters granted safe passage to leave the stronghold based on the ceasefire agreements, but are expected to make their way to areas beyond control of the Syrian government.

Full evacuation may be completed in the next several days as humanitarian groups are also providing logistical support for those expected to be torn away from their homes.  Syrian government and militia forces have already taken over all rebel-held areas in Aleppo. The Syrian military was supported by Russia and Iran.

Syrian President Bashar al- Assad said that the "liberation" of Aleppo is a historical moment for the country and it presented a major victory for Assad's government.

UN Humanitarian adviser for Syria Jan Egeland said that there are still tens of thousands of civilians waiting to be ushered out of Aleppo.

"Thousands of people are in need of evacuation, but the first and most urgent thing is wounded, sick and children, including orphans," said Egeland. This was also confirmed by UN Special Envoy for Syria Steffan de Mistura, who said that there are still estimated 50000 civilians still inside Aleppo of which some 10000 have already been prepped for evacuation to the nearby Idlib province and other government- controlled districts.

Turkey, on the other hand, plans to set-up a refugee camp in Syria that will take in evacuees from Aleppo since they may also be expecting tens of thousands of refugees scampering all over the surrounding cities for fear that many of them may be pushed back.

Meanwhile, European leaders have already expressed support to hasten humanitarian aid in Aleppo. This is also in support of France's President Francoise Hollande's push for a UN resolution supporting the EU response for humanitarian efforts in the war-torn city.

Trucks from EU loaded with food, medicines and other essentials are awaiting dispatch into the devastated areas. Hollande believes that this shall be a move that Russia could not refuse. The French President also pointed out that while Russia was responsible for numerous vetoes on resolutions from many EU plans, it would surely not veto a resolution pushing for humanitarian aid.


Tags : Aleppo, Syria Civil War, United Nations, ceasefire, evacuation