Russia claims evacuations from Aleppo have been ‘completed’, top UN official disputes claim

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Convoys of citizens evacuating the city of Aleppo, after finally liberated from rebel control.

Russia says that all women and children have been taken out of eastern Aleppo and that a final sweep by the Syrian military is under way to clear out the last remaining rebels in the city.

A statement on Friday from the Russian military’s Centre for Reconciliation in Syria said the evacuations have been “completed”. It came shortly after the Syrian government said it was suspending the evacuations because a convoy leaving Aleppo was fired on by the rebels.

The UN and international aid agencies insist there are still people in eastern Aleppo waiting to be evacuated.

Russia said that more than 9,500 people, including more than 4,500 rebels and 337 wounded, have been taken out of the rebel-held districts in eastern Aleppo.

The Russian military also says some die-hard militants have stayed behind and are firing on the Syrian government troops.

The UN health agency’s top official in Syria says negotiations are under way in hopes of resuming evacuations from rebel-held parts of eastern Aleppo.

Elizabeth Hoff, the Syria representative for the World Health Organisation, says that the agency knows “there are a large number of women and children, and there are others, who are still inside and want to get out”.

She spoke by phone from government-controlled western Aleppo, after Russia’s military claimed that all women and children had been taken out of eastern Aleppo during evacuations that began a day earlier involving WHO help.

Ms Hoff says that “negotiations are ongoing” through the office of the UN envoy for Syria to try to restart the evacuations.

She says has no indication that the evacuations have been completed.

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