The previous post in our Putin in Syria column can be found here.

With 1000s Trapped, Evacuation Route Blocked And Comms Cut, Russia Says Regime “Liquidating Pockets Of Resistance”

Russian state media reports that Syrian regime forces are now conducting a “cleanup” of remaining “radical” fighters in eastern Aleppo.

RIA Novosti reports that the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria (TsPP) has said:

“The Syrian army’s operation to liberate the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo controlled by militants has been completed. Syrian government forces are liquidating isolated pockets of radical resistance.”

This appears to confirm reports from within Aleppo that fighting has broken out again.

The TsPP claimed earlier this morning that all women and children had been evacuated – a claim at odds with almost all reports from the city.

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Russia Claims All Women And Children Evacuated From Eastern Aleppo Despite Reports Of Thousands Remaining Trapped http://www.interpretermag.com/syria-december-16-2016/ 

Thousands of civilians & a lot of injured still in the besieged districts I confirm, thousands of civilians still here

Disturbingly, ITV News editor Johnathan Wald reports that regime forces have begun piling up rubble in order to block evacuation routes:

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Dump truck unloads rubble to block one of the routes to the East Aleppo neighbourhood of Al-Ameryah where remaining rebels and families are

Not only are women and children still present in Aleppo, but the omission of any civilian men in the Russian statement recalls the fact that, earlier this month, a top Russian general claimed that all males over the age of 12 had been recruited into military service by rebel groups.

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Did The Russian Military Justify Killing All Male Residents Of Aleppo Above The Age Of 12? http://bit.ly/2g1pagY 

Furthermore, there are now reports that large swathes of internet and phone communications in the city have gone down:

BREAKING: Total media blackout in E due to loss of communication with the city as Assad’s forces resume assault on 65,000 remaining.

I am still in the besieged districts of 98% of aleppo without internet connection

Contact in besieged area of Aleppo surfaces online; says 98% of people w/o internet. Many land lines also not working. Lots of fear now.

There is a very real risk that a massacre of unprecedented scale may take place in the coming hours.

— Pierre Vaux

Published in Press-Stream December 16, 2016 in Publication Putin in Syria
Russia Claims All Women And Children Evacuated From Eastern Aleppo Despite Reports Of Thousands Remaining Trapped

Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reports that the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides In Syria (TsPP) has announced that all women and children have now been evacuated from eastern Aleppo.

“All the women and children who were in the neighborhoods controlled by militants have been evacuated.”

This stands at odds with media reports that thousands of civilians remain trapped in the besieged city.

Russian MoD says all the people who wanted to leave east Aleppo have done. People still there say that’s not true. Evacuation halted.

Russian Defense Ministry say avacuation from Aleppo completed
9500 Civilians who left only
There’s thousands of Civilians still in E

Early, unconfirmed reports of ‘s District coming under attack

@HalabTodayTV says there are still more than 1500 wounded and injured people in E. . They were waiting 2b evacuated.

It’s far from finished. Large numbers till waiting to leave. https://twitter.com/afp/status/809722555732992000 

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Chaotic scenes this morning as Aleppo civilians gathered awaiting evacuation. Photos via an east Aleppo resident:

The evacuation effort was halted this morning, with a convoy carrying some 800 people halted and ordered to turn back by regime-allied fighters.

STILL UNCONFIRMED
Last convoy of 800 evacuees out of has been held hostage by pro groups on Motorway

Pro-@C_Military1 confirms last convoy out of been intercepted, now being returned to East pocket pic.twitter.com/SMA7lb0Y7q

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Robert Mardini, the regional director at the Interntional Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) tweeted:

: Regretfully, the operation was put on hold. We urge the parties to ensure it can be relaunched & proceed in the right conditions.

Pro-opposition Aleppo24 News reports that regime forces have demanded the release of 66 of their fellow fighters, captured by Rebels in Aleppo, as a condition for allowing the convoys to resume.

IMPORTANT: +800 civilians from last convoy are missing and didn’t arrived till now back to .

BREAKING 📣: forces demand new condition to continue evacuation to release 66 fighters arrested in and southern Aleppo

The 66 fighters arrested in clashes in Aleppo and southern . Names are from forces & Shiite militias.

ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff have been ordered out of some areas by regime-allied forces, amid reports that fighting has broken out again.

ICRC vehicles and green buses speed away from evacuation point as operation is suspended in Aleppo

Ominous: Reports that @ICRC and @WHO staff ordered to leave Aleppo

regime forces takking out Red Crescent elements of Al-Sokkari area and begin an attack on Al-Sendiana area in the besieged city of Aleppo.

Share this message to whole world. ceasefire broke, civilians are in danger. I beg world u do something now to get us out. – Fatemah

Published in Press-Stream December 16, 2016 in Publication Putin in Syria