Our Summary: This report claims 950 civilians have been evacuated from Eastern Aleppo. The evacuation is taking place through ambulances and buses under a “fragile exit deal” brokered by Russia. A slow speed convoy moved from East Aleppo to West Aleppo crossing government controlled areas. However reports from Syrian Civil Defense claimed Assad-loyal militias opened fire on the convoy killing one and injuring 4.
The WHO reports “total of 21 buses and 19 ambulanes had left east Aleppo” on the way to rural parts of Western Aleppo. The ceasefire started on Thursday and is expected to last three days in a an aim to evacuate as many “civilians and fighters” as possible despite the firing on the convoy vehicles. Fighting ceased Thursday morning with civilians reaching the departure points for the buses. Civilians have been given the choice of staying or leaving, with most choosing to leave fearing massacres by government forces.
The report continues by citing that according to the ceasefire agreement rebels would be transferred to Idlib City. Turkey said to meet Iran and Russia on 27th December in Moscow. Turkey has said those leaving East Aleppo will be taken to Idlib province a Rebel Alliance stronghold. A UN commission inquiry received reports that some rebels were stopping civilians leaving the city “using them as human shields”. Aleppo has been split between Rebel held East and government held West since 2012. A Syrian analyst at Doha institute believes the Syrian government will now focus its efforts on Damascus since the capture of Aleppo. Since the start of the war, Aleppo has seen heavy fighting which has seen much of the city destroyed, with the need for “rehabilitation of whole systems of infrastructure”.
Our Verdict: The report breathes a sigh of relief after the latest atrocity committed in the Syrian war. The ceasefire brokered by Russia has meant civilians and those injured have potentially three days to evacuate the city. However the opening of fire on the buses used for evacuation of civilians shows the fragility of the ceasefire. The interesting point is that remaining rebel fighters will be transferred to Idlib (65km from Aleppo) according to the ceasefire agreement. This we believe is a move to protect Assad forces from reprisal attacks from rebels but also to contain the rebels in one area, maybe for a future campaign. The rebuilding of the city and the country, its infrastructure and economy will attract those that are stakeholders in this war.
Key Word: Stakeholder