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  • Aleppo

    Aleppo: Evacuations suspended as confusion reigns

    CNN)The evacuation of thousands of refugees out of the besieged city of Aleppo has been halted and the status of the operation thrown into doubt, the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed Friday.

    ICRC staff, Syrian Red Crescent workers and representatives of the World Health Organization have been told to leave eastern Aleppo.
    "The evacuations have been halted," Middle East spokesman for the ICRC, Ralph El Hage, told CNN.
    "We are hoping the parties reach an agreement so we can move forward with the evacuation."

    Syria's state news broadcaster reported that the Al-Nusra front had blocked the exit of 1,250 civilians in Aleppo.
    Citing the temporary suspension, the state broadcaster said the evacuation had stopped because there was a breakdown in the ceasefire when some of the evacuees were transporting weapons and advanced communication devices.

    The United Nations' Jan Egeland expressed his frustration, tweeting: "Very successful evacuations from East Aleppo have been discontinued. Thousands of civilians, including orphans, are still waiting to escape."

    The Syrian regime is on the brink of retaking the whole city of Aleppo, which has been partly held by rebels for more than four years. 'Scared'

    Activist Mahmoud Raslan, who is inside Aleppo, told CNN that he was close to the entrance gate from rebel-held to regime-held areas when violence flared.
    "The evacuation was suspended by the regime and the Syrian regime now is shooting at the entrance point using heavy machine guns," he said.
    "A warplane is in the sky now and the Syrian regime is trying to advance in al-Sendyanah bridge, people are gathered in huge numbers and very scared."
    Ways to help the people of Syria
    The activist Aleppo Media Center blamed the suspension of the evacuations on Iranian militias, who they say targeted the road leading into east Aleppo's Sukkari district with heavy gunfire.