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Aleppo Evacuation Still Ongoing


Women carry their belongings as they wait to be evacuated from a rebel-held sector of eastern Aleppo.

The evacuation of Syrian rebels and civilians from the last rebel foothold in eastern Aleppo is still ongoing, aid workers and a rebel spokesman say.

A spokesman for the Free Syrian Army rebel alliance, Osama Abu Zaid, said on December 21 it would carry on into the night and had been slowed by heavy snow.

Abu Zaid was speaking to the Al-Arabiya al-Hadath news channel from the Turkey-Syria border.

An unnamed UN official on the ground confirmed that the evacuation continued in the evening, the Reuters news agency reported.

Earlier, Syria's state news agency SANA reported that hundreds left aboard 20 buses heading for a rebel-held area in the western Aleppo countryside, marking the final stage of the evacuation process.

The departures from Aleppo pave the way for the government to assume full control of the embattled city.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it had evacuated the last hospital patients left in east Aleppo. The ICRC said that all residents requiring urgent medical care had been evacuated as well.

The last hospital in eastern Aleppo was now empty, the relief organization said.

According to the ICRC, some 25,000 people have been bused out of east Aleppo since last week.

The evacuation is being conducted under a cease-fire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces and their allies drove rebels out of most of eastern Aleppo in an offensive that has been strongly criticized by the UN and Western governments.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa
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