The last Syrian rebels and civilians are awaiting evacuation from the remainder of what was once a rebel enclave in eastern Aleppo, a day after the UN Security Council approved sending observers to monitor the exodus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 15,000 people, among them 5000 opposition fighters, have left the enclave since the rebels effectively surrendered the area under an Ankara- and Moscow-brokered deal. It's unclear how many remain.
In Moscow, foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran are meeting on Tuesday to discuss Syria, but the talks are likely to be overshadowed by the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey the previous night by an Ankara policeman, who after killing his victim cried out: "Don't forget Aleppo! Don't forget Syria!"
The leaders of Russia and Iran, military allies of Syria's president, talked on Monday about joining forces to reach a quick political settlement in Syria, as the country's largest city, Aleppo, was poised to return to full government control.
Syrian state TV said it expected the evacuation of thousands of civilians and fighters from the last opposition footholds in Aleppo to be completed by early Tuesday.
As more people left the city, the UN Security council approved a compromise French-Russian resolution urging the immediate deployment of UN monitors to watch over the evacuation and "the well-being of civilians" remaining in the city.
UN officials said more than 100 UN humanitarian staff already on the ground in Aleppo, most of them Syrian nationals, could be used in that role.
But thousands of people have already been evacuated from the city and the operation could be completed before the observers arrive.
The departure of the last rebels from Aleppo would close another chapter in Syria's civil war and would give President Bashar al-Assad a significant symbolic and strategic victory.
Almost six years after the outbreak of an armed rebellion against Assad, the Syrian leader will be in charge again of the country's five largest cities and the Mediterranean coast.
The presidents of Russia and Iran spoke by phone Monday to discuss the next moves. The Kremlin said Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani "underlined the need for joint efforts to launch a real political process aimed at a quick settlement in Syria".
The leaders noted that a quick launch of talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, would be an important step towards that goal, a Kremlin statement said.
The conversation came a day before a scheduled meeting of foreign and defence ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Moscow. Russia and Iran have backed Assad, while Turkey has supported the opposition.
The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan De Mistura, welcomed the Moscow meeting and any effort that results in a cessation of hostilities.
He announced that the UN hopes to arrange negotiations between the government and opposition in Geneva on February 8.
Syria's UN ambassador, Bashar al-Ja'afari, claimed that one of the "main purposes" government opponents pushed for the resolution was to get people into eastern Aleppo to rescue foreign intelligence officers still in the former rebel-held area.
He named 12 alleged officers still trying to get out of Aleppo - six from Saudi Arabia and one each from Turkey, the United States, Israel, Qatar, Jordan and Morocco. He said: "We are going to catch them ... and show them to you."