East Aleppo has seen a renewal of evacuations. Ambulances and buses have begun to leave rebel held areas of this war ravaged metropolis in Syria. About 350 individuals have been reported to exit the enclaves on December 18. The government has also begun its own evacuation process in few places of Idlib province. These places are under attack by rebels. The number of people trying to escape the region numbers in their thousands.
Repeated evacuation attempts
First attempts at evacuating Aleppo city failed on December 16. Civilians were stranded at a number of points along the evacuation route. They had no access to shelter or food. Continuous bombardment of the eastern part of Aleppo has left it sans any kind of medical facilities. Only on December 18, ambulances and buses started to move out of the city after sunset. This was confirmed by an UN official through an email message to the Reuters News Agency. The official added that the initial group of people started to leave eastern Aleppo around 11pm in the night.
It has been agreed by the UN Security Council to permit the operation being monitored by United Nations. A plan drafted by the French was earlier rejected by Russia. This plan was to send the UN officials to survey in east Aleppo. Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to United Nations said that the US expect every country to vote unanimously on this subject.
Forces allied to the Syrian Government had laid down a few preconditions prior to allowing the evacuation. They have demanded that people should be permitted to exit Shia villages like Kefraya and Foah located in Idlib province. Rebel forces have surrounded the two villages. According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian State TV, 10 buses are recorded to leave the villages. The Observatory has said that among a total of 4,000 villagers, 500 have left in the first evacuation.
The evacuation was not a peaceful one. There were a number of reports that an al-Qaeda affiliated group, the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, has set fire to about five buses. The vehicles were supposed to transport the injured and the sick from those villages. This account was disputed by Hezbollah, the militant group hailing from Lebanon, and presently fighting along side the Syrian Government. It said that the blaze begun when fighting strated between an evacuation supporting Islamist group and the jihadists.