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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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Crushing of rebels in Aleppo could be repeated

Civilians fleeing shattered Aleppo face being pursued and persecuted once again in the rebel stronghold where they will begin to rebuild their lives.

The fall of the rebel-held enclave in east Aleppo has drawn the world's condemnation - but the vicious battle may well be repeated in a fragmented Syria.

Four main groups - the main rebel opposition, government forces, so-called Islamic State and Kurdish fighters - all control different areas of the country.

There is also a risk that the messy conflict could destabilise the entire region.

And there were warnings that the rebel stronghold of Idlib, where most evacuees from Aleppo are being taken, could emerge as a new target.

The UN envoy for Syria warned: "If there isn't any agreement on a ceasefire and there is no political discussion then Idlib is the next Aleppo."

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