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Buses burned on way to evacuate besieged Syrian villages

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The evacuation to transfer out trapped civilians and fighters in eastern Aleppo, as well as two Syrian villages, was thrown into doubt on Sunday when assailants torched six buses assigned to the operation.

The buses were to take part in the evacuation of over 2,000 wounded and sick Syrians from Foua and Kfarya, two rebel-besieged villages that have remained loyal to the government in an area under opposition control in the northwest Idlib province, activists and government media reported.

The bus burnings could scuttle a wider deal to evacuate thousands of vulnerable civilians and fighters from the opposition’s last foothold in Aleppo and return the city entirely to government control.

Evacuations from Aleppo had been halted amid mutual recriminations Friday, after several thousand trapped civilians had already been moved from the city. The suspension of the evacuations had thrown an Aleppo deal brokered by Russia and Turkey last week into disarray.

That deal marked a turning point in the country’s war. With the opposition leaving Aleppo, President Bashar al-Assad has effectively reasserted his control over Syria’s five largest cities and its Mediterranean coast nearly six years after a national movement to unseat him took hold. – CBC News Update Here

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