Aleppo evacuation Halted by Syrian government

Overnight, the Syrian government suspended the evacuation of civilians and rebels from eastern Aleppo, saying the rebels had broken the agreement and citing attacks on civilians leaving pro-government towns elsewhere in the country. Prior to this announcement, some twenty passenger buses and ten ambulances ferried over 1,000 civilians out of the embattled city and into the opposition-held towns of Khan Touman and Khan al Asal in Idlib province. It is still unclear how many fighters are among those evacuated, but there have been several reported incidents of snipers attacking convoys as they travel along the “humanitarian corridor” leading out of the city.
The Cipher Take: The fight for Aleppo is over. This not only signals the end of any hope that opposition forces might eventually overthrow Assad, it also marks the final decline of the “moderate” opposition. The remaining rebel forces in eastern Aleppo are, generally speaking, led by moderate or secular groups like the Free Syrian Army (FSA). However, the opposition-held province of Idlib – where those Aleppo evacuees who made it out are now headed – is largely dominated by powerful Islamist groups such as Jabhat Fateh al Sham (the formerly Al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front). Those escaping from Aleppo may be jumping from the frying pan into the fire.


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