A deal to evacuate civilians and fighters from remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo is on hold
ALEPPO AFP/ Dec14, 2016-
Deadly clashes erupted in Syria’s Aleppo on Wednesday and a deal for the evacuation of rebel areas was on hold, leaving thousands of cold and hungry civilians uncertain of their future.
Entire families had gathered in the early hours, in the hope of leaving Aleppo after an agreement announced the night before for rebels to withdraw from the city.
But the first expected departures around 5:00 am (0300 GMT) were delayed and, a few hours later, fierce fighting again began to shake the city.
The landmark deal -- which would mark the end of opposition resistance in Syria’s second city after years of fighting -- appeared increasingly precarious as the regime, the rebels, and their foreign allies traded accusations.
The last pocket of rebel-held territory in east Aleppo came under heavy tank fire, said an AFP correspondent in the area, who saw several wounded civilians.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said air strikes had also hit rebel areas and that there were “very intense clashes on every front line”.
State television said rebel rocket fire on government-controlled areas had also resumed, with at least seven people reported dead.
Rebels and a source close to the regime told AFP that the evacuation had been suspended after objections from Syria’s government.
The source said Damascus had baulked when the rebels wanted to increase the number of those to be evacuated from 2,000 to 10,000.