Syrian rebel says pro-Assad militia obstruct Aleppo evacuation

Opposition officials said they had expected a first group of wounded people to leave on Tuesday evening.

By REUTERS
December 14, 2016 06:10

Buses wait to evacuate first groups from Aleppo

Buses wait to evacuate first groups from Aleppo

 
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A Syrian rebel official said pro-Damascus Shi'ite militias were obstructing the departure of people from opposition-held districts of eastern Aleppo on Wednesday under a deal that will hand control of the area to the government.

Officials in the military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad could not immediately be reached for comment. Assad has been backed by an array of Shi'ite militias from across the region in his campaign for Aleppo.

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Sources had on Tuesday given different expected start times for the evacuation. Opposition officials said they had expected a first group of wounded people to leave on Tuesday evening.

A military official in the pro-Assad alliance had said the evacuation was due to start at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT).

"Iranian militias are turning people back," said Zakaria Malahifji, a Turkey-based official with an Aleppo rebel group.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said no fighter or civilian had left eastern Aleppo as of 5 a.m. (0300 GMT).

A Reuters witness said 20 buses were parked with their engines running on a main road out of the city, awaiting the evacuees. Another dozen were counted nearby.

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