Evacuation in Syria Halted, Each Side Accuses Other for Violations


Time: 2: 42 p.m. CEST

Government in Syria has suspended the evacuation of civilians and fighters from eastern Aleppo, BBC.com reports.

Assad’s government accuses rebels of breaking the terms of the ceasefire. According to the government sources, rebels had blocked the evacuation of civilians agreed in the deal. Some of the green buses that are carrying people from eastern Aleppo were canceled. The United States estimates that at least 50,000 people are trapped inside Aleppo, while at least 6,000 people have left the city since Thursday. The U.N. envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, explained that 50.000 people, including 40.000 civilians are in eastern Aleppo in condition of lack of food supplies and hospitals, which are not usable.

Meanwhile, operation to evacuate the sick and injured “had been halted on Friday on orders from Russian forces.” World Health Organization official Elizabeth Hoff said. There are still high numbers of women and infants – children under five – that need to get out,” WHO official Hoff told the U.N. on Friday in a phone call from western Aleppo.

“They have been collecting themselves on the points where the buses and the ambulances were waiting for them. “But now with the operation aborted they had to go back to their houses and this a great concern to us because we know that they are desperate to get out,” Hoff said, as BBC.com reports.

Despite, Syrian state media said the mission was suspended after rebels tried to smuggle heavy weapons and captives. Some of the busses with evacuated people passed by the blasts at a crossing at Ramouseh toward the rebel-held areas in Idlib. Both sides accused each other for the attacks toward busses.

BBC.com says, “A military news outlet affiliated with the Syrian government said protesters had blocked the road to demand people be allowed to leave the mainly Shia towns of Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province – an area in the north-west controlled by rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.” In addition, “The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) estimates that a total of 20,000 people live in Foua and Kefraya. Pro-government fighters evacuated at the end of 2015 reported that starving residents had resorted to eating grass and had to undergo surgery without anesthesia.”

Assad’s government and Iran that supports this Syrian government said that the evacuation in Aleppo could happen only with simultaneous evacuation on Foua and Kefraya that are cut off by the rebels since September 2015. Assad’s military captured almost all territory held by rebels in eastern Aleppo. Russia’s air strikes supported the operation, but that would not end the enduring civil war in Syria.

Despite the fruitless attempts for evacuation, political talks to solve the crisis in Syria could continue with the U.N. run efforts in Geneva. Secretary of State, John Kerry accused Assad’s government on “nothing short of a massacre,” in Aleppo. Kerry called again its Russian ally to change the decision and help for a peace in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin requested “all sides to agree to a complete nationwide ceasefire.” Putin, who is in Japan said, Russia and Turkey, would start a new round of peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Kazakhstan.

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