An agreement has been reached effectively ending the four year battle of Aleppo, with the last rebels evacuated into other rebel territory around Syria. Russia confirmed the deal, but urged civilians to remain in the city, insisting there was no need for civilian evacuations with the fighting over.
It isn’t necessarily clear sailing for civilians, however, with no timetable yet for getting large-scale humanitarian aid into the bombed-out city, while the UN also reported that an Iraqi militia involved in fighting against the rebels had been accused of killing dozens of civilians in the rebel areas.
The UN doesn’t have observers there, and can’t confirm that this actually happened, and Russia said their observers didn’t see anything, but the Iraqi Shi’ite militias have such a sordid history of carrying out revenge attacks after “liberations” of cities that it’s tough to dismiss out of hand.
The lack of concrete evidence wasn’t enough to keep France from pushing an emergency UN Security Council meeting on the matter, saying that the allegations were all credible. British Ambassador Matt Rycroft concurred, calling the fall of Aleppo one of the darkest days for the UN Security Council.
No matter what is happening in Aleppo, the end of the fighting means the start of what will doubtless be years of reconstruction for what was once Syria’s industrial and financial capital city, which has been badly damaged and is full of barricaded neighborhoods. Job one, of course, is getting aid into the formerly under siege districts.