First Aleppo evacuees reach opposition territory

A convoy carrying the first evacuees from opposition-held parts of Syria's Aleppo arrived in opposition territory west of the city on Thursday (December 15th), AFP reported.

"Red Crescent vehicles carrying the wounded have arrived, and the wounded will be transferred to... nearby hospitals for treatment," said Ahmad al-Dbis, who heads the unit of doctors and volunteers co-ordinating the evacuation of the wounded, from near Khan al-Assal, about five kilometres west of Aleppo city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the first batch of evacuees had arrived, while a senior Syrian military source told AFP the convoy included nearly 1,000 people.

Ambulances and buses carrying the first evacuees from Aleppo left remaining opposition-held territory in the city on Thursday under a fragile exit deal.

Around two dozen vehicles departed al-Amiriyah district and crossed into regime-held Ramussa before reaching opposition-held territory in the west.

UN-backed humanitarian taskforce for Syria head Jan Egeland said "most" evacuees from Aleppo would be headed to opposition stronghold Idlib.

"Once the convoy arrives safely it will return and collect more people for a second journey and continue like that," said Ingy Sedky, spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Observatory said the evacuation of sick and wounded from Fuaa and Kafraya was expected to begin Thursday, with evacuees expected to head for Latakia province.

"The deal is linked to the evacuation happening in Aleppo," said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman. Fuaa and Kafraya have been besieged by the opposition since spring 2015.

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