On Friday morning, the evacuation of civilians and rebel fighters from eastern Aleppo was unexpectedly suspended following the imposition of a cease-fire that would grant the Syrian government’s forces control of the city. From the Wall Street Journal:
Rebel leaders and residents in opposition areas waiting to depart Aleppo said Iranian-backed Shiite militias allied with the government of President Bashar al-Assad had blocked the route out of the northern Syrian city.
Syrian state media claimed rebel groups attacked the vehicles carrying out the evacuation with sniper fire and artillery. It said rebel groups had breached the ceasefire agreement by trying to smuggle heavy weapons from Aleppo into opposition-held territory in the countryside outside the city.
Workers with the World Health Organization, the Red Cross, and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were reportedly asked to leave the evacuation route out of the city. NPR reports that about 3,000 people have been evacuated so far. An estimated 50,000 civilians still remain in eastern Aleppo.
The cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey collapsed almost immediately after its imposition, with both rebels and the Russian government claiming the other had broken the agreement.