Red Cross Confirms Exit of First Militant Convoy from Aleppo
The ICRC reproted that a sum of 1,500, including wounded militants and their familyy members, left Aleppo for Idlib minutes ago.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Thursday afternoon that the first group of militants, including 1,500 armed men and their families, left Eastern Aleppo on buses and ambulances under the ceasefire agreement.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement that ambulances and buses with militants leaving Aleppo are accompanied by Russian servicemen and Red Cross staff.
Also, the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria said that the first convoy of buses with militants has already left Eastern Aleppo. The evacuation will take place in several stages. In the first stage, a sum of 1,500 militants, including most the wounded rebels and their family members, left Aleppo minutes ago. A sum of 4,000 to 5,000 militants and an estimated number of 10,000 people who are said to be their family members are to leave Eastern Aleppo under the deal.
Meanwhile, the Russian General Staff said that the pullout of militants and their families through a humanitarian corridor has begun in Eastern Aleppo, adding that wounded militants will be evacuated by the Russian Reconciliation Center with International Red Cross involvement.
“To allow the militants leave the city, a 21km humanitarian corridor has been set up. Of those, 6km lie across Aleppo’s territories controlled by government troops and the other 15km to the West of the city go through militant-held areas,” Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov said.
He added that 20 buses and 10 ambulances are being used for the evacuation in addition to over 100 vehicles belonging to the militants themselves.
“Following the order of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, President Vladimir Putin, the evacuation of 5,000 militants and members of their families from the Eastern districts of Aleppo has begun today,” the General added.
Also, Spokesperson for the ICRC in Syria, Ingy Sedky said that “we expect that during the day there will be around 250 wounded and critically wounded to be evacuated”, adding that, “the whole operation will take some time because it will require multiple rotations, but the operation is now going as planned”.
Earlier reports said that the militants who were preparing to evacuate Aleppo under an internationally-negotiated ceasefire deal opened fire on residential areas in Eastern Aleppo again as tens of buses arrived in their region to start their relocation to Idlib, after Turkey demanded to take them out to Northern Aleppo province to take part in the Euphrates Shield Operation.
Syria’s state TV reported on Thursday that terrorists restarted artillery attacks on residential areas in the Eastern districts of Aleppo city, breaching the truce once again.
The terrorists had also in a similar case earlier jeopardized the agreement on Tuesday night after they received some messages from Ankara about Turkey’s increasing pressures on Damascus through military intervention in Northern Aleppo province combined with the western states’ mounting pressures on Syria and its allies that accused the latter of war crimes in Eastern Aleppo. The ceasefire agreement that was reached on Tuesday went off after the terrorists violated its terms, making the warring sides to initiate a new round of talks that resulted in an agreement on Wednesday.
On Thursday and as tens of buses and ambulances were taking wounded militants to areas South-West of Aleppo, the militants once again violated the ceasefire after Turkey, in a unilateral move against the internationally-endorsed ceasefire agreement – negotiated by Syria, Iran, Russia and the militants and their sponsors – announced that it intends to take the militants to Northern Aleppo province to give them a role in Ankara’s Euphrates Shield Operation.
Meantime, Sky News reported on Thursday that tens of Turkish ambulances have arrived in the Western parts of Aleppo province to transfer the wounded terrorists to Turkey as Ankara intruded again in violation of the agreement between the two warring sides that included relocation of all militants and their wounded members and families to Idlib in Northwestern Syria.
The violation of the ceasefire happened as all measures and preparations have been made for the evacuation of terrorist groups and their family members from Eastern Aleppo to Idlib province in the next stage.
Syria’s state TV reported that based on the agreement between the Syrian authorities and the terrorists’ leaders, 4,000 militants and their family members – that are said to be around 10,000 people – will leave Eastern Aleppo.
Estimates say some 15,000 to 20,000 civilians are still in the very few districts controlled by the terrorists in Eastern Aleppo.
The terrorists have been allowed to take only light arms with themselves during the evacuation.
The terrorist groups have started setting fire on their bases, vehicles, weapons caches and extra food supplies. They also sought to destroy the documents which revealed their ties with foreign states that support them.
Meantime, al-Mayadeen news channel reported that the agreement to relocate the militants includes evacuation of civilians from the two towns of Fua’a and Kafraya in Idlib, besieged by the terrorists.
According to reports, the two warring sides have pledged to remain committed to the terms of the agreement.
After ambulances started evacuating the wounded from Eastern to Western Aleppo in the morning, the latest reports said on Thursday morning that the Syrian and Russian forces are ready to start evacuation of militants from Aleppo to relocate them to Idlib province.
According to the Russian reconciliation center, about 20 buses and 10 ambulances will carry out evacuation of the wounded militants.
The wounded are to be sent to Ramouseh, South-West of Aleppo, first to be dispatched to Idlib via Khan Touman and the roads in Northern Hama.
The Russian reconciliation center said in a statement that it is “preparing to evacuate the remaining militants and their family members from the Eastern districts of the city of Aleppo in collaboration with the Syrian authorities”.
The reconciliation center is monitoring the situation in the area using surveillance cameras and drones, adding that Russian soldiers will also accompany the militants during the evacuation from Aleppo to Idlib.
The Syrian authorities are guaranteeing that all members of armed groups who decide to leave Eastern Aleppo will be safe, the center said.
“The Syrian authorities are guaranteeing safety of all members of armed groups who decided to leave the Eastern districts of Aleppo,” the center added in the statement.
The Syrian authorities and terrorist groups stationed in the Eastern parts of Aleppo reached an agreement to evacuate militants from the region in return for relocating thousands of besieged civilians from Fua’a and Kafraya in Idlib to government-ruled territories.
The latest reports said 29 buses and ambulances are on their way to Idlib to evacuate the wounded, women and children from Faua’a and Kafraya to government-held territories via Northern Hama. According to official statements, the evacuation will take place in several phases.
A sum of 1,200 wounded people along with their family members are to leave the two besieged towns in Idlib in the first stage.
Local sources close to the dissidents said that all preparations have been made for the evacuation of militants and their families from Aleppo.
The latest reports from Eastern Aleppo said tens of ambulances and Green Buses have arrived at militant-held territories, and terrorists are readying to start evacuation any moment.
Evacuation of wounded militants started at 9 am (Syria Times). Reports said the ambulances are heading for medical centers in Western Aleppo.
Syrian officials have confirmed earlier reports that 15,000 residents of Fua’a and Kafraya in Idlib who are under the terrorists’ siege would be evacuated under the Aleppo ceasefire and evacuation agreement.
Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin had told the UN Security Council meeting in New York on Tuesday that the fighting in Eastern Aleppo stopped and the Syrian government regained control over the territory after the withdrawal of militants from the city was agreed.
But, terrorists resumed fire Wednesday morning and pushing the deal into complete failure.
The Jeish al-Fatah coalition of terrorist groups was targeting the Eastern and Western districts of Aleppo city regardless of the ceasefire declared on Tuesday night, inflicting heavy casualties on the people and blocking their exit from the war-hit city, local sources stressed.
The sources said that clashes resumed between the militants and the Syrian government forces in the Eastern Aleppo neighborhoods of Salahuddin and Seif al-Dowleh after Jeish al-Fatah terrorists dropped agreement on the exit of militants and violated the truce.
The sources added that the militants opened fire at the army and civilians in flagrant violation of the ceasefire, killing and wounding scores of people, including children.
Following the attacks, evacuation of the militants from Aleppo came to a halt.
“Everything has been ready for the withdrawal (of militants from Aleppo) since the night fell,” RIA Novosti quoted a sources as saying, adding “It was expected that the withdrawal would start early in the morning, but it has not started yet”.
Another news website reported that Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) is disturbing the exit trend of the militants from Aleppo city.
Militants in Aleppo violated the agreement on leaving the city and used the ceasefire to regroup and begin hostilities again, the Russian Peace Coordination Center in Syria said in a statement on Wednesday.
The center added that it had prepared means for evacuation of militants to Idlib, in accordance with the deal reached by the Syrian authorities and the militants.
“When the transport arrived at the previously agreed loading place, the militants began shelling the convoy. Having used the ceasefire, the militants regrouped at dawn and renewed hostilities, trying to break through the positions of the Syrian army in the Northwestern direction,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the army repelled the attack and continued the operation to liberate Eastern Aleppo.
The Syrian Army’s victories in Eastern Aleppo finally forced militant groups to leave the war-torn city as Jeish Al-Fatah terrorists are now encircled in a very small area left with the only two options of surrender or die.
The terrorist groups in Eastern Aleppo asked the Syrian Army to allow them leave the city for Idlib similar to other militant groups throughout the country that have opted for the same choice.
The Syrian army troops and popular forces squeezed Jeish al-Fatah terrorists in an area no larger than 2.5 sq/km, after taking control of nearly 99 percent of entire Eastern Aleppo.
A field source also disclosed that the defense lines of the terrorists completely collapsed and they were not able to resist against the government forces’ strikes, saying the army men and Hezbollah will soon liberate the remaining neighborhoods.
The Syrian army units started special operations in Aleppo after several humanitarian pauses declared by Damascus and Moscow to give a chance to the civilian population as well as the militants to leave the Eastern parts of the city through 8 corridors.
District after district have fallen into the hands of the Syrian army soldiers and their allies in the city of Aleppo, as the pro-government troops have recaptured most of the blocks and districts in the Northern and Southern parts of Eastern Aleppo.
Also, tens of thousands of civilians, including hundreds of children and newborn babies, have also left the Eastern part of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo in recent days, while thousands of militants laid down their arms and left Eastern Aleppo through the special corridor.
Over the recent months, Aleppo has been a battlefield between government forces and numerous terrorist groups, however, in recent weeks, the Syrian Army has made significant gains in Eastern Aleppo and is close to liberating it from the militants.