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END OF SIEGE

After a four-year battle, thousands of Syrian civilians are being evacuated from rebel-held Aleppo

Enough bloodshed. (Reuters/Omar Sanadiki)
This article is more than 2 years old.

Thousands of Syrian civilians and militants began evacuating from the rebel-held eastern Aleppo today under a ceasefire deal, after Syrian government forces recaptured the city and rebels agreed to withdraw.

A convoy of 20 buses and 13 ambulances have been sent by the government to help with evacuation, according to a tweet from Syria’s International Red Cross. At the time of writing, the convoy had brought out over 1,000 people from the area, Reuters reports.

Under the ceasefire deal, rebel forces will withdraw fighters to other rebel-held territories outside Aleppo. Civilians are welcome to join them, the New York Times reports, or stay in the city of Aleppo, which will be back under government control. A Turkish government official estimates there could be a many as 100,000 people coming out from the previously besieged city, according to Reuters. (Turkey is considering establishing a camp to accommodate refugees.)

The evacuation concludes four and a half years of battle in Aleppo, which suffered more destruction than any other city during the Syrian civil war, which has been ongoing since 2011. The last round of offense in Aleppo occurred on Dec. 12, when government forces killed 82 civilians while attempting to retake a rebel-held territory, a UN spokesperson told Al Jazeera.

Boarding the evacuation buses. (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)
Evacuation ambulances and buses drive out of a rebel-held part of Aleppo, Syria December 15, 2016. (Reuters/Omar Sanadiki)
Aleppo residents walk with their belongings as they gather to be evacuated. (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)
A still image from video taken December 15, 2016 over eastern Aleppo shows an operation to evacuate thousands of civilians and fighters in buses. (Reuters/ Syrian Army Handout)
A child inside a bus evacuating people from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo. (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)
Men push an evacuee on a stretcher. (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)
People gather to be evacuated from al-Sukkari rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo. (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)
Evacuation ambulances and buses in a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo. (Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail)

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