The evacuation operation of a rebel-held enclave in eastern Aleppo is underway after a new ceasefire deal was reached on Thursday, according to Red Cross officials.
Syrian rebels had prepared to withdraw from Aleppo on Wednesday after a ceasefire agreement was struck, ending five years of violence in the Syrian city. The truce deal was struck after talks between Russia, President Assad's main ally in the war against rebels, and Turkey, a leading supporter of the rebels. However, the evacuation deal collapsed within hours after reports of pro-Damascus Shi'ite militias obstructing evacuation of people in the region.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said that it is evacuating around 200 wounded people in the war. Fleets of buses and ambulances were reportedly seen heading towards the eastern regions of the Syrian city to evacuate the stranded civilians from a war which lasted for almost four years. This is the biggest victory for Bashar-al Assad's regime in the country yet.
Biggest victory for Syrian President Bashar-al Assad
The war between the Opposition rebels and the Assad-backed Syrian regime came to an end after the Syrian coalition captured almost all remaining besieged areas by the rebels in the eastern Aleppo. The evacuation deal marks the biggest victory for Bashar-al Assad's regime in the country yet.
According to Syrian state TV reports around "4,000 rebels and their families would be evacuated from eastern districts on Thursday", the media added that "all the procedures for their evacuation are ready".
A Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria released a statement saying that the authorities in Syria had guaranteed safety of all the armed groups members who had decided to leave the region.
The rebels had confirmed that a fresh ceasefire deal was in place at 03:00 GMT and that a new evacuation deal was agreed on soon after breach of the deal struck on Wednesday.
The rebels relented to hand over the remaining besieged area to the government in exchange of evacuation of the rebels and civilians stranded in the region. The Assad regime has been backed by Shi'te militias from across Syria for his campaign against the rebels in eastern Aleppo.
Atrocities committed against civilians
On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had said that he was alarmed by the reports of "atrocities against a large number of civilians, including women and children, in recent hours in Aleppo."
There were also reports of atrocities committed against civilians by the Syrian regime forces, where, in some cases, the civilians took to the social media site Twitter to narrate their ordeal in real time and bid their goodbyes to the world.
"We hope one can help at least the children and women. They are in a great danger. Where is the UNICEF? This regime doesn't differentiate between women children or men," Abdulkafi Al-Hamdo, an activist and teacher living in the rebel-held section, told TIME in a text message.
Paris turns dark in solidarity
Paris on Wednesday night turned off the lights of the famous Eiffel Tower as a gesture of solidarity with the residents of Aleppo who are facing a humanitarian crisis as they flee the Syrian city from incessant violence.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the Eiffel Tower, typically illuminated by thousands of sparkling lights every night, went dark as of 8 p.m. (1900 GMT).
"This symbolic measure at a building known worldwide will aim to once again alert the international community to the need for urgent action," Hidalgo's office said in a statement.