Aleppo evacuation delayed at least a day; humanitarian crisis worsens
The evacuation of the Syrian city of Aleppo by residents and rebels was delayed on Wednesday morning by at least another day. Under the terms of the cease-fire deal reached on Tuesday, the Syrian army and the rebels were supposed to halt hostilities to facilitate a withdrawal by the rebels as well as the evacuation of tens of thousands of trapped citizens. Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin confirmed that the rebels would be able to withdraw, and said that the Russian military had halted operations in Aleppo since the Syrian military had full control of the city. Reports from the devastated and besieged city said that pro-Iranian Shiite militias that oppose the evacuation are delaying the process. Most of the eastern part of Aleppo that had been under rebel control has been captured by the Syrian army and the Shiite militias after it was bombed by Russian and Syrian planes. All of the health, rescue, water and communication systems in the eastern part of the city have collapsed, and the winter weather is making the city's humanitarian disaster even worse.