15 December 2016

New Aleppo ceasefire allows Syrian civilians to evacuate, rebels say

A new deal to evacuate civilians from east Aleppo has been reached, rebel officials said late on Wednesday, after a day of intense shuttle diplomacy and violent bombardment in the opposition enclave.

Under the terms of the deal, confirmed by two rebel officials, a ceasefire was expected to go into effect half an hour before midnight Aleppo time.
Civilians and the wounded in east Aleppo were expected to begin evacuating from the city at 6am on Thursday.
A spokesperson for Noureddine al-Zinki, one of the armed opposition groups in Aleppo, said the deal would also allow the evacuation of wounded people in Fua and Kefraya, two Shia villages in Idlib province that are besieged by rebels.
The inclusion of Fua and Kefraya was a concession to Iran, which had opposed the previous ceasefire deal negotiated by Turkish intelligence and the Russian military.

An official from Ahrar al-Sham, another key rebel group, denied, however, that Fua and Kefraya were part of the deal, which was reached after Turkish mediation.

Sources in east Aleppo said shelling in the city had stopped at midnight local time.

The new ceasefire agreement came a day after a previous evacuation deal appeared to unravel in the face of Iranian opposition.

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