Russia’s defence ministry said on Wednesday that the Syrian army resumed its assault in eastern Aleppo after rebels broke a truce intended to allow them to evacuate.
The ministry said that its military monitors in Syria had organised the evacuation of fighters from the city by bus following an agreement between rebel leaders and Damascus, a process that was supposed to begin at 0400 GMT.
But the convoy of civilian buses gathered in the Salaheddin neighborhood came under fire from rebel territory after the fighters “regrouped and relaunched hostilities” in an attempt to break through Syrian positions to the northwest, the ministry said.
“The attack by the terrorists was warded off. The Syrian army continued its operation to liberate the eastern districts of Aleppo controlled by the rebels,” Russia’s military said in a statement, without specifying whether the regime operation was ongoing.
A deal reached Tuesday, which would end years of opposition resistance in the city, called on civilians and rebels to promptly start evacuating from Aleppo.
If implemented, the deal would mark a major victory for President Bashar al-Assad over opposition forces who rose up against him in 2011.
Earlier Wednesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow expected rebel resistance in Aleppo to end in the next “two to three days” and for the situation to be “resolved”.