Thousands of civilians, fighters waiting to leave Aleppo - rebels | Reuters
AMMAN Thousands of rebels and fighters were still waiting on Thursday to be evacuated from the last rebel bastion in Aleppo but harsh weather was complicating the final phase of the operation, a rebel spokesman said. Ahmed Kara Ali, spokesman for the rebel group Ahrar al Sham that is involved in departure negotiations, told Reuters 'large numbers' were left but it was difficult to estimate how many remained, beyond it being in the thousands.The operation to evacuate civilians and fighters from rebel-held eastern Aleppo has already brought out thousands of people since late last week
AMMAN Thousands of rebels and fighters were still waiting on Thursday to be evacuated from the last rebel bastion in Aleppo but harsh weather was complicating the final phase of the operation, a rebel spokesman said. Ahmed Kara Ali, spokesman for the rebel group Ahrar al Sham that is involved in departure negotiations, told Reuters "large numbers" were left but it was difficult to estimate how many remained, beyond it being in the thousands.The operation to evacuate civilians and fighters from rebel-held eastern Aleppo has already brought out thousands of people since late last week. But obstacles have disrupted the departure of the last group, with rebels and Iranian-backed militias blaming each other for the delays.Since the resumption of evacuations last night after a suspension, Kara Ali said 20 buses and over 600 civilian vehicles had left the rebel enclave for opposition-held areas in rural western Aleppo and Idlib province.
The last evacuees are believed to be fighters and their families.Another rebel official said a heavy snow storm that hit northern Syria and the sheer numbers of civilians still remaining were among the factors behind the delay in the mass evacuation.
"The numbers of civilians, their cars alongside and of course the weather all are making the evacuation slow," Munir al-Sayal, head of the political wing of Ahrar al Sham, said.Sayal said he expected the evacuation to end before evening if there were no hitches and matters proceeded normally.
"If it proceeds in this routine way, we should be done this evening," the senior rebel official told Reuters. (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.