1. National

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.

View all 146 updates ›

We are free: Mother of Bana al-Abed speaks of their relief

The mother of a seven-year-old girl who tweeted about living conditions under the Syrian regime has spoken of her relief to finally reach safety.

Bana al-Abed attracted over 300,000 Twitter followers by providing harrowing updates on her living conditions and near-death experiences when she was growing up in besieged eastern Aleppo.

On Sunday, Bana and her mother Fatemah were some of 12,000 people to be evacuated as part of a deal to return the city to government control.

Holding her arm around her daughter, Fatemah told the activist-run Qasioun News at her relief at leaving, but also the regret of being forced out of her home city and living as a refugee.

We created our Twitter [account] to tell all the world what is happening there [in eastern Aleppo].

We are happy because our voice reached all the world. We are free.

We are feeling - I am sad because I leave my country, I left my soul there. I want to take our freedom there, not to be like a refugee in other countries. I want for my kids a good future. But this is the matter here.

They make us leave our country. We can't stay there because there is a lot of bombs and no clean water, no medicine.

They even targeted hospitals and schools. When we get out, we had a lot of suffering, because we stayed almost 24 hours in a bus without water and food and anything.

We stayed like prisoners, a hostage.

Finally, we arrived here and we thank God and we thank all our friends who have supported us.

– Fatemah al-Abed

More on this story