Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Aleppo evacuation: What has happened so far?

Thousands of people remain trapped in Aleppo Credit: Reuters

Dozens of busses carrying evacuees from the last rebel-held district of eastern Aleppo have begun to arrive in the insurgent-held areas outside the city.

Tens of thousands of civilians desperate to leave Aleppo were left stranded for 48 hours over the weekend after a ceasefire deal broke down.

However the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the evacuation has since resumed. On Sunday, 65 busses carrying some 3,500 people left the city and arrived in al-Rashideen early on Monday morning.

Among those who managed to escape was seven-year-old Bana al-Abed.

Meanwhile a separate convoy of 10 busses - carrying evacuees from the rebel-held Shi'ite Muslim villages of al-Foua and Kefraya to government-held areas of Aleppo - also arrived early on Monday morning.

The evacuation of pro-government forces was a condition for the departure of rebels leaving eastern Aleppo.

With Aleppo having all but fallen to president Bashar al-Assad, ITV News documents the last few days of the battle to reclaim the city.

  • When did the evacuation begin?
Evacuations began on Thursday Credit: Reuters

After an initial ceasefire apparently faltered on Wednesday, plans for the first evacuations from eastern Aleppo were put on hold.

But with a renewed truce seemingly forged just hours later, the first evacuations from the city began in earnest on Thursday - with buses and ambulances headed to former rebel strongholds.

However, even as the first few thousand people were removed from the city, ambulances and convoys carrying civilians were reportedly fired on.

By the end of Thursday, approximately 1,000 people were said to have been successfully evacuated.

  • When did the evacuation stall?
Many injured people desperately need to be evacuated from Aleppo Credit: Reuters

A new breakdown in the ceasefire on Friday meant the evacuation again stalled.

Trouble reportedly flared when pro-government and rebel groups were allowed to leave Aleppo at the same time.

Meanwhile, it was also claimed that some evacuees had been being detained by pro-government forces as they left the city.

A United Nations ambassador told reporters there had been "many, many reports of people being pulled off buses and disappeared, whether into conscription or into torture chambers or killed outright".

While several thousand people had been successfully evacuated by the end of Friday, many more remained trapped inside Aleppo.

  • What happened over the weekend?
There were no evacuations over the weekend out of Aleppo Credit: Reuters

Following the ceasefire breakdown, no more evacuations appeared to be carried out across Saturday and Sunday.

Matters were further complicated on Sunday when a convoy of buses sent to evacuate two pro-government villages in nearby Idlib were attacked and torched - allegedly by rebel forces.

With continuing violence, no evacuations were carried out for roughly 48 hours, leaving thousands of desperate civilians waiting for a way out.

"They are waiting for the last hope of them leaving the hell that they are living in", Monther Etaky, an Aleppo resident, said.

Another resident pleaded: "Save our blood and lives. Don't make things worse".

  • What is the situation now?
The UN will vote on Monday whether to send monitors to Aleppo Credit: Reuters

A further 30,000 people are believed to still be trapped in Aleppo and are in desperate need of help and supplies.

Airstrikes and shelling in Aleppo have stopped, and the city has all but fallen to President al-Assad.

Late on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the first convoy to evacuate civilians and fighters from the city in almost two days had arrived safely to the countryside.

The convoy of 21 busses arrived at the insurgent-held town of al-Rashideen early on Monday morning.

Among those who managed to escape was seven-year-old Bana al-Abed.

Meanwhile, on Monday the UN Security Council will vote on a resolution whether to put over 100 UN personnel on the ground to monitor the evacuations.

More on this story