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.