Negotiations underway for rebel evacuation from Aleppo

Damascus, Dec 14 (IANS) Negotiations are underway for the rebel evacuation in the coming hours from eastern Aleppo city in northern Syria, the media arm of the Syrian Army said on Tuesday evening.

Significant progress is being made during the negotiations between local and international powers for the evacuation of the rebels from the few remaining areas under their control in the eastern part of Aleppo city, toward the northwestern city of Idlib, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.

Meanwhile, local Sham FM radio cited a “senior security source” as saying that the deal being negotiated will see the evacuation of 10,000 rebels and their families from Aleppo in the next few hours.

The evacuees will move toward Atareb in the western countryside of Aleppo and the eastern countryside of Idlib near the Turkish borders.

The evacuation of rebels and their families is expected to start at 5.00 a.m. Wednesday local time by buses and under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Earlier in the day, a military source told Xinhua that the Syrian Army has cornered the rebels in a very small area in Aleppo, trapping them in the neighbourhoods of Mashad, Ansari and Amiriyeh.

This comes as thousands of civilians kept flooding out of eastern Aleppo toward government-controlled areas, and temporary shelters, where their identities are being scrutinised.

Local reports placed the number of evacuated people from eastern Aleppo at more than 80,000.

State news agency SANA said thousands of civilians fled eastern Aleppo on Tuesday alone.

Also, over 1,000 rebels surrendered in eastern Aleppo over the the past two days.

On Monday evening, celebrations broke out in Aleppo, as the army has almost captured the city, with people chanting in support of President Bashar al-Assad and the army.

The state TV said it’s the day of celebration for Aleppo’s victory.

Sources in Aleppo said the Syrian Army is expected to make the declaration of the victory on Tuesday evening, or Wednesday morning.