The Syrian opposition have confirmed reports that Iran-sponsored Shia militias, that Tehran has brought to from around the world in order for them to fight on behalf of President Bashar Al-Assad, are preventing civilians from leaving Aleppo under a Russia-approved deal.
Under the terms of the Russian deal, apparently also brokered by neighbouring Turkey, Aleppo’s civilians would have been allowed to leave the shattered city and would be transported to opposition-held Idlib.
The armed factions would also be allowed to leave to Idlib but would only be able to take light weapons with them, leading many to suspect that Moscow plans to help the Assad regime to funnel fighters and civilians into Idlib, already strained under so many refugees, and slaughter them there.
Nevertheless, it would appear that the Shia militias under Iranian control, including the Lebanese and Iraqi branches of Hezbollah, have other plans and would prefer to continue the massacres that the United Nations confirmed were happening yesterday, killing women and children.
Zakaria Malahfiji of the Fastaqim opposition group said that the Shia militias were preventing civilians from leaving their neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo and boarding buses that would take them to what may be their last destination in this life.
A commander in the Nour Al-Din Al-Zinki armed opposition faction, Ahmed Obeid, told Al Jazeera that those who direct the action on the ground are Iranians, and they have stark differences with the Russians over what should happen to those in Aleppo.
According to Reuters, more than 30 buses are waiting to be allowed to evacuate civilians, yet the problems with the Shia militias has meant that they are stationary and empty as civilians, some severely wounded, continue to languish in Aleppo’s last remaining ghetto.
Al Jazeera’s reporter inside Aleppo said that more than 70 urgent medical cases were supposed to have already been evacuated, but this has now been delayed as the Assad regime has resumed shelling the small two square kilometre pocket where approximately 100,000 people are still waiting to be evacuated.