Home | Breaking News | Aleppo truce ‘back on track’ in tit-for-tat deal in Syria
War-torn buldings in an eastern part of Aleppo . Tass/Barcroft Images .Buses were waiting to evacuate people from the east of the city

Aleppo truce ‘back on track’ in tit-for-tat deal in Syria

WT24 Desk

A ceasefire deal to allow Syrian rebels and thousands of civilians to be evacuated from the last opposition-held area of eastern Aleppo is apparently back on track, Sky News reports.

The fragile truce, brokered by Russia and Turkey, had collapsed after less than a day when airstrikes, gunfire and shelling broke out. But it is due to begin again “within hours” after a reciprocal arrangement to evacuate the villages Foua and Kefraya that are surrounded by rebels in Idlib province.

Around 15,000 people will be able to leave those two areas, which was a condition introduced by the Syrian government for the truce to resume.

Spokesmen for three rebel groups said the ceasefire would start again on Wednesday night and people would begin leaving areas of eastern Aleppo early on Thursday.

Syrian president Bashar al Assad also hit out at the original ceasefire. He said it was designed to “keep the terrorists and save them” and stop his government’s advance on the last tiny pockets of resistance.

He said western countries had pressured Russia for the ceasefire when rebels appeared to be on the verge of losing all their territory. It meant the original evacuation plan from the last rebel area – a square-mile pocket of eastern Aleppo – was delayed.

The withdrawal had been due to begin at 5am (3am GMT) on Wednesday but was put on hold as shelling resumed. Syrian government buses that had been waiting to take people out to nearby Idlib were forced to return to their depots.

Both sides accused each other of breaking the ceasefire.  Activists and fighters trapped in the opposition’s last sliver of territory said pro-government forces had struck their district with rockets.

They spoke of “intense shelling”, with some accusing Iranian militias allied to Mr Assad. Mojahed Abu Joud said in a video that people had been wounded in the shelling – as the sound of explosions was heard in the background.

Activists also said fighter jets had resumed bombing raids. Russia, which has been helping the Syrian regime’s bombardment, blamed the rebels for breaking the ceasefire and “resuming the hostilities” at dawn.

The country’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said the resistance was likely to end in the next two or three days. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has also congratulated President Assad on a victory in “liberated Aleppo”, saying it was an important step towards “wiping out terrorism in Syria”

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