No End in Aleppo: Evacuation Buses Return to Depots Empty
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2016 6:28 AM CST
This photo provided by a Syrian Kurdish activist group shows people fleeing rebel-held eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo last month.   (The Rumaf via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Looks like the "complete meltdown of humanity" in Aleppo will continue for at least another day. The ceasefire declared in the war-ravaged Syrian city Tuesday appears, to nobody's surprise, to have broken down, leaving tens of thousands of civilians in rebel-held areas stranded in desperate conditions. Reuters reports that a planned evacuation has stalled amid fierce fighting and what rebels say is a resumption of airstrikes by Russian-backed Syrian government forces. Buses that were supposed to evacuate fighters and civilians to rebel-held areas outside the city returned to their depots Wednesday morning, the AP reports.

Activists say Iran-backed militias and Syrian government forces blocked the evacuation after demanding that the Russia- and Turkey-brokered deal be changed to allow the evacuation of their own injured fighters from towns in rebel-held zones, reports the BBC. "The sectarian militias want to resume the massacre in Aleppo and the world has to act to prevent this sectarian slaughter led by Iran," a member of rebel group Noureddine Zinkitells the Guardian. "The opposition will continue to abide by the agreement." Russia, which claims thousands of civilians and hundreds of fighters left the remaining rebel-held portion of Aleppo over the last 24 hours, says Syrian forces are responding to rebel attacks, and they expect resistance to end over the next two or three days.

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