Final evacuations from Aleppo resume in snow


The last hospital patients in east Aleppo have now been moved, as have all residents needing urgent medical care, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Aleppo’s hospitals and doctors were regularly targeted by Syrian government forces as they sought to get rid of opposition fighters this year.

Last month, the United Nations said it believed there were no functioning medical facilities left in the city.

Buses are seen during an evacuation operation of Syrian rebel fighters and civilians from the remaining rebel-held pockets of eastern Aleppo towards rebel-held territory in the west of Aleppo's province on December 21, 2016
Image Caption:Buses during an evacuation operation of Syrian rebel fighters and civilians from eastern Aleppo

Around 25,000 people have been bused out of Aleppo since last week as part of a deal overseen by the Red Cross and brokered by Syrian government backer Russia and rebel supporter Turkey.

Under the deal, all civilians and opposition fighters should be out of the area within two days, according to Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

Journalist Rami Zein discusses Aleppo

Video:Aleppo evacuee speaks from Idlib

He also told reporters after a meeting with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts that they had agreed fighting terrorism was more of a priority than removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Some of Aleppo’s residents have described the evacuations as forced displacement.

Once eastern Aleppo has been evacuated – predicted to happen overnight – the Syrian government is expected to announce that it has complete control over city.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Syrian girl Bana Alabed, known as Aleppo's tweeting girl, at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, December 21, 2016
Image Caption:Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Bana Alabed at the Presidential Palace in Ankara

Among those saved earlier in the week was Bana Alabed who, with her mother, has been tweeting from the war-torn city.

On Wednesday she met Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential palace in Ankara, where she received an emotional hug from the leader.

It is not clear whether Bana and her family will stay in Turkey, a country hosting some 2.7 million refugees from Syria.

Evacuees from a rebel-held area of Aleppo arrive at insurgent-held al-Rashideen, Syria December 21, 2016
Image Caption:Evacuees from a rebel-held area of Aleppo arrive at the insurgent-held al-Rashideen

Earlier on Wednesday, eight buses of residents from two villages in Syria’s Idlib province, where rebels remain in control, arrived west of Aleppo.

The evacuations from the Shia-majority villages of Foua and Kafraya were part of the Aleppo ceasefire deal.

Syrian children make a snow man in the town of Maaret al-Numan, in Syria's northern province of Idlib, on December 21, 2016. Rebels and civilians who have sought refuge in the opposition-held province of Idlib, most recently from second city Aleppo, say they are suffering from skyrocketing prices and overpopulation. At least 25,000 people, including rebel fighters, have left east Aleppo since last week under an evacuation deal that will see the city come under full government control
Image Caption:Northern Syria has been hit by heavy snow and sleet

Meanwhile, 14 Turkish soldiers were killed and more than 33 injured in fighting against Islamic State militants near the town of al Bab, about 25 miles north east of Aleppo, in northern Syria on Wednesday.

There were also 138 jihadists killed in the clashes, according to the Turkish military.


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