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Evacuation of Aleppo underway

AAP logoAAP 14/12/2016

Syrian activists say residents in eastern Aleppo are starting to board buses and ambulances, the first step in an evacuation that is part of the rebel enclave's effective surrender.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says ambulances and municipal buses crossed from the government territory and arrived shortly after noon on Thursday in the last rebel area in Aleppo.

Syrian state TV has broadcast footage showing a convoy of green-coloured municipal buses rumbling toward the agreed-on evacuation point inside the opposition-held area.

The spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Ingy Sedky said their staff has arrived with Syrian Arab Red Crescent ambulances and workers to evacuate the wounded.

The ICRC says it's preparing to evacuate 200 wounded people, some in critical condition.

A Russian general, meanwhile, said Russia has begun evacuating about 5,000 militants and their families from Aleppo under an order from President Vladimir Putin.

A humanitarian corridor stretching more than 20 kilometres has been established for the evacuation, including "15 kilometres through territories controlled by illegally armed groups," General Valery Gerasimov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

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