December 14, 2016 / 8:52 PM / 7 months ago

Syrian rebel officials say Aleppo truce deal back on track, to begin 'within hours'

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AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian rebel officials said on Wednesday that a ceasefire deal for Aleppo was back on track, and its implementation, including evacuations from the last rebel-held areas of the city would begin "within hours".

"An agreement has been reached and within the coming hours its implementation will begin," Abdul Salam Abdul Razak, a military spokesman for the Nour al-Din al Zinki group, told Reuters.

He said the deal included the evacuation of people from two villages besieged by rebels in Idlib province, a condition introduced by the government side for the truce deal, which stalled on Wednesday amid heavy fighting in Aleppo, to resume.

An official in the pro-Damascus military alliance confirmed the truce deal was on, and said some 15,000 people would be evacuated from the villages, Foua and Kefraya, in return for the evacuation from Aleppo of "militants and their families and whoever wants to leave among civilians". He said they would head for Idlib province.

An official in the Jabha Shamiya rebel group said implementation would begin around 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Thursday.

A second Jabha Shamiya official also said it would involve the evacuation of rebel fighters and civilians from the remaining rebel-held districts of Aleppo, in return for the evacuation of people from Foua and Kefraya.

Reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman, Tom Perry in Beirut; writing by John Davison; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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