Civilians in the last remaining rebel-held neighbourhoods of east Aleppo were subjected to another day of bombardment and shelling on Wednesday as international actors squabbled over the terms of their surrender.
An agreement to evacuate thousands of rebels and residents fell apart just hours before they were due to leave, only for another deal to be reached later that evening.
A ceasefire brokered by Russia, president Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally, and Turkey was intended to end years of fighting in the city, giving the Syrian leader his biggest victory yet after more than five years of war. But shelling and gunfire erupted early this morning and the fragile truce appeared to collapse. Both sides traded blame for the renewed hostilities. Turkey and the rebels it supports said pro-government forces began shelling them unprovoked, while Russia accused the opposition of firing on an evacuation point.
But the problem seemed to lie with parties not included in the talks, which expressed their objections to some of the terms of the deal. On Wednesday night, both sides appeared to commit to get the deal back on track after agreeing to the other’s demands.
There was a cautious optimism that the new ceasefire would begin before morning.
The attacks delayed plans in Aleppo to evacuate thousands of besieged rebels and civilians, who are living without food, running water and electricity, out of the tiny pocket of the city they are confined to.
Hundreds of residents had gathered in the streets before daybreak on Wednesday, some clutching their belongings, in anticipation.
Trapped in the square-mile pocket, they sent increasingly desperate messages after the deal appeared to fall apart.
more at: telegraph.co.uk