Rebel forces in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo late on Wednesday said they have reached a second ceasefire agreement with the government, hours after a plan to evacuate tens of thousands of civilians failed and shelling resumed. The new ceasefire was to be effective from 11.30 pm on Wednesday and citizens are to be let out of the city at 6 am on Thursday (local time), rebel officials told The Guardian.
While there were some reports that the shelling had stopped by midnight, the situation on the ground remains unclear. The two major forces fighting against the rebels, the Bashar al-Assad led government and its ally Russia have not yet commented on the validity of the second ceasefire, the BBC reported. However, a Syrian Army official told AP that civilians would be evacuated soon. Two villages in the country’s north-west, Fua and Kefraya, are also likely to be evacuated if the deal holds up.
On Wednesday, shelling and gunfire erupted in the city soon after the battle was deemed over. Government forces had reportedly reached a ceasefire agreement with the rebels, who had subsequently agreed to withdraw from their last post in the eastern part of the city. The evacuation was said to be stalled after Iran imposed new conditions, officials told Reuters. Though the civilians were supposed to be evacuated at 5 am on Wednesday, no one left the city by dawn and the 20 buses waiting to take people into rebel districts did not move.