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Aleppo evacuation operation 'in last stages'

The evacuation of civilians and rebels from eastern Aleppo is in its "last stages," the International Committee of the Red Cross has said.

Around 34,000 people have been evacuated in the week-long rescue operation.

Over 4,000 rebel fighters left between Wednesday and Thursday to rebel-held western rural Aleppo, as per an agreement reached with the government.

Thousands are expected to be evacuated as the rescue operation continues throughout Friday, a Red Cross spokeswoman said.

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Hezbollah: Aleppo will be evacuated 'within hours'

Aleppo evacuations will take place 'within hours' according to Hezbollah. Credit: ITV News

A military media unit run by Hezbollah, which is closely allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has said rebels and residents will be evacuated from eastern Aleppo "within hours", Reuters reports.

The unit said early on Thursday that overnight negotiations succeeded in reviving a ceasefire that would lead to people being allowed to leave.

"Intensive contacts between the responsible parties involved in the negotiations led to re-consolidating a ceasefire to exit armed fighters from eastern districts in the next few hours," the unit said in a statement.

Hezbollah is an armed Lebanese Shi'ite political group backed by Iran that is heavily involved in the fighting in Aleppo.

Meanwhile a Syrian official source told Reuters that an operation to organise the departure of fighters from eastern Aleppo had already started.

"The operation to organise the departure of gunmen from eastern Aleppo has now started," the Syrian official source said.

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