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16 Dec, 2016 12:09

E. Aleppo evacuations halted after militants break truce terms – RT reporter

The evacuation of militants out of eastern Aleppo has been halted after they broke the terms of the truce struck with the government, RT correspondent Lizzie Phelan reports from the scene, citing a Syrian Army official.

According to a senior Syrian general in Aleppo, the militants tried to bring heavy weapons out with them instead of light weapons which were allowed, violating the terms of the agreement with the Syrian authorities.

They were also supposed to release captives taken from the pro-government forces, and it was agreed the latter would be evacuated before the last group of militants leaves the city.

READ MORE: Liberation of E. Aleppo from militants complete - Russian military

However, according to the military official, the militants violated those terms and tried to smuggle out the captives and heavy weapons.

Phelan also reported that gunfire and clashes could already be heard.

Ali Rizk, Middle East affairs expert, told RT that the militants fear the aftermath of the Syrian Army liberating the city, and are trying to delay it and take as much weaponry with them as they can to continue fighting elsewhere.

“They are afraid of the aftermath of Aleppo, of what the next step of the Syrian government and its allies will be.”

Syrian news agency SANA also reported on Friday that the militants tried to smuggle heavy weapons and “kidnapped people in the buses transporting them towards southwestern Aleppo.”

The agency also reports that militants have opened fire on the buses and cars at the al-Ramouseh crossing, forcing the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross – which have been supervising the evacuation process –to withdraw all buses and cars meant for the evacuation.

RIA Novosti cited a source at the Syrian Army headquarters as saying that the militants opened fire at the evacuation convoy and attempted to capture hostages. The source added that negotiations with the militants have for now been halted.

The massive pullout of militants and their families through a special corridor that leads from eastern Aleppo’s Salaheddin neighborhood to the Er-Rashidin-4 district on its western outskirts started on Thursday. The wounded militants have been evacuated by the Russian Reconciliation Center with International Red Cross involvement.

Earlier on Friday, the center said that all women and children have been evacuated from militant-controlled parts of eastern Aleppo, and only radicals now remain there.
It added that over 4,500 militants have been evacuated along with their families, as well as 337 wounded. A total of over 9,500 people have been moved out of the rebel-held eastern Aleppo since the operation was launched on Thursday.
The militants that remain have been firing at the Syrian forces, the center’s statement added.