Aleppo evacutions continue, 'last convoys' expected

Aleppo evacutions continue, 'last convoys' expected

Aleppo (Syria) (AFP) - Evacuations from rebel-held parts of Aleppo continued overnight with dozens of vehicles leaving the city and the operation likely to end on Thursday, aid workers said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is assisting in the evacuation, said dozens more buses and smaller vehicles were expected to carry rebel fighters and civilians out of the city on Thursday.

"We expect today to be the last convoys, the operation will continue all day long and during the night. If it goes smoothly the evacuation will end tonight," said Ingy Sedky, the ICRC's spokeswoman in Syria.

Around 30,000 people have left the one-time opposition stronghold of east Aleppo since Thursday, including all of the wounded and sick in critical condition, according to the ICRC.

Ahmad al-Dbis, who heads a team of doctors and volunteers coordinating evacuations, said some 400 vehicles, including trucks and cars, had arrived overnight in Khan al-Assal, the staging ground where evacuees from Aleppo arrive after leaving the city.

From there, most have headed for territory to the west of the city still under the control of Syrian rebels, who are suffering their biggest defeat in more than five years of civil war after agreeing to withdraw from Aleppo.

President Bashar al-Assad's government is waiting for the end of the evacuations so it can declare the completion of the offensive to recapture the one-time rebel stronghold.

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