Fierce fighting halts Aleppo evacuation of rebels

Aleppo, Dec 14 (IANS) A truce deal to evacuate rebels from the few remaining rebel-held areas in Aleppo city in northern Syria was broken on Wednesday, sources in Aleppo said.

Both warring sides exchanged mortar fire hours after an anticipated evacuation of rebels from areas they still held in southeastern Aleppo was delayed for unknown reasons, sources told Xinhua news agency, on condition of anonymity.

The renewed shelling comes after a quiet night in Aleppo, as a truce went into effect for the evacuation process to take place at dawn on Wednesday.

The breakdown of the deal, brokered by Russia and Turkey, is being attributed to demands from the Syrian government.

Sources said government buses were ready to transport the rebels through the Ramouseh Road out of Aleppo toward the western countryside of the city.

Local media outlets accused the rebels of breaching the truce, saying they attempted to attack military posts, and the army responded with firepower, thwarting their attempt.

As for the opposition, activists said Syrian forces breached the truce by targeting rebel-held areas with tens of mortar and artillery shells.