Update December 14, 11:30 a.m. ET: Lina Shamy’s Twitter account has become active, once again. She reports that the ceasefire has been broken and that “No one could leave the city.”
Original article: Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were said to have taken control of the last-remaining eastern areas of Aleppo held by rebels today before a truce was reached that will see civilians and rebel fighters evacuated in five buses at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday local time (10:30 p.m ET), as reported by NBC News.
In seeming contrast, Russian UN representative Vitaly Churkin stated that the buses were only for rebel fighters and that there was “no need for the remaining civilians to leave” because the Syrian government was in control and the fighting is over.
A Turkish official stated that both “civilians and moderate rebels with light weapons” will be free to leave the city and that once they have reached Idlib province, they are “free to relocate,” as reported by the Guardian. The British publication described “grave concerns” about the fates of tens of thousands who remained in the final hours of the battle.
Goodbye videos appeared on social media as Syrian government forces moved in on the last rebel-held areas of the Syrian city, which had a population in excess of 2 million in recent years. Fighting in the the final hours of the siege was described as a being fierce, with the United Nations stating that “82 execution-style killings of civilians, including women and children,” were committed, as reported by the New Arab.
“This may be my last video,” Aleppo resident and activist, Lina Shamy, somberly reported in a video posted to Twitter about 24 hours ago.
“Assad militias are maybe 300 meters away,” fellow Aleppo resident Mr. Al Hamdo stated into the camera in a video posted by CNN. “No place to go. It’s the last place.”
In her video, Lina Shamy stated that the execution of 50,000 Syrian rebels and civilians was possible as pro-Assad forces took control of the city. The most recent activity on her Twitter account was 12 hours ago.
NBC News reports that the United Nations stated that 250,000 civilians were trapped in eastern Aleppo in early December. Earlier today, Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy to Syria, stated that 50,000 civilians remain in eastern Aleppo, along with 1,500 soldiers, as reported by BBC News. The disparity between these figures remains unclear.
In late November, CNN reported that close to 200,000 people remained in eastern Aleppo, but that tens of thousands were fleeing. Water and food shortages, along with a lack of access to proper medical care, was reported throughout the fighting.
“Everybody who can, please speak to your government,” said a man with an account with the RFS Media Office on YouTube, according to CNN.
As fighting raged around the final rebel-held “hellish corner” of Aleppo, Jens Laerke with the UN described the scene as “a complete meltdown of humanity.”
“The reports we had are of people being shot in the street trying to flee and shot in their homes,” stated Rupert Colville, with the U.N. Human Rights Office.
The number of deaths and casualties as a result of the final siege remains unclear; Colville speculated that there could be “many more” to come. Unconfirmed reports from NBC News suggest the possibility of humans being burned alive.
The current ceasefire was said to have gone into effect at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in Aleppo (11 a.m. ET).
Possibly more than 100 unaccompanied children were said to have been “trapped in a building, under heavy attack in east Aleppo,” explained a statement from Unicef before the ceasefire, according to the Guardian. “We urge all parties to the conflict to allow the safe and immediate evacuation of all children.”
The battle of Aleppo lasted for over four years and has been compared to the Battle of Stalingrad between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during World War II by ITV News. More than 300,000 are reported dead.
“Please just tell our stories to the world, please let my son be proud of his father,” an Aleppo resident stated via text message.
[Featured Image by SANA/AP Images]