ALEPPO: The Syrian government on Friday suspended an operation to evacuate civilians and fighters from the last rebel-held parts of Aleppo, accusing the opposition of violating the deal, a security source said.
An AFP correspondent heard gunfire and explosions in Ramussa, the government-held neighbourhood that evacuees had been passing through.
“The evacuation operation has been suspended because the militants failed to respect the conditions of the agreement,” the security source told AFP.
A regime source close to the negotiations said the deal had been suspended because rebels were “leaving Aleppo with hostages.”
In Ramussa, buses and ambulances that had been waiting to evacuate more people left the area after the gunfire and explosions, the AFP correspondent said.
The delicate operation to evacuate remaining civilians and fighters from east Aleppo began on Thursday afternoon and continued through the night.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said around 8,500 people had left the city, going to rebel-held territory in the west of the province.
The army began an operation to recapture all of Aleppo in mid-November, and had overrun more than 90 percent of the former rebel bastion in the east of the city before the evacuation began.