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Aleppo Evacuation: Shots fired at ambulances in Aleppo, 3 wounded

AP , Thursday 15 Dec 2016
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Syrian activists say pro-government forces have shot at ambulances trying to leave eastern Aleppo, wounding at least 3 evacuees.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the ambulances were still in opposition territory when they came under small-arms fire from the government side on Thursday. It says three people were wounded.

Local hospital director and opposition activist Hamza Khatib says no ambulances or buses have been able to leave eastern Aleppo yet.

The Syrian Civil Defense responders posted on social media that two of its members were wounded when government forces fired on ambulances leaving the opposition's remaining sliver of land in Aleppo.

The activist-run group says they were evacuating wounded civilians and rebels as part of an agreement to return the city to government control. The group says one person died and two were wounded but the fatality could not immediately be confirmed.

The evacuation is part of an agreement between rebels and the Syrian government for the pullout from opposition-held neighborhoods of fighters and civilians in what is effectively Aleppo's surrender to the government.
The rebels have held to the eastern part of the city for four years but their enclave rapidly evaporated in the past days in the face of a fierce Syrian government onslaught.

The Russian military says it's preparing for the rebels' withdrawal from Aleppo.

The military's Center for Reconciliation in Syria says that 20 buses and 10 ambulances are prepared to carry the rebels to Idlib on Thursday.

The center says it's preparing for the rebels' exit together with the Syrian government. It says Syrian authorities have given security guarantees to all rebels willing to leave Aleppo.

The Russian military also says it's monitoring the situation using drones.

A previous attempt to arrange a rebel withdrawal failed Wednesday when a cease-fire deal between the rebels and the Syrian government collapsed, with the government and the rebels blaming each other for its failure.

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