Evacuation From Aleppo
Concerns about a possible Aleppo genocide escalated in mid December after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took control of Aleppo, once the country's financial hub and its most populous city, from rebel forces. As the government forces advanced into pockets containing remaining rebels, an activist, Lina Shamy, recorded a video widely circulated on December 13 that labeled what happened in Aleppo the day before "genocide." USA Today said there were reports that "pro-government forces had executed civilians on the besieged city’s streets, including women and children." The major city in Syria has been ripped apart by the conflict between rebel fighters and loyalists of President al-Assad, who is backed by Russia and Iran. The reports of genocide and mass executions came after the city fell to Assad's control. The chaotic aftermath caused conflicting reports, including claims of atrocities, ranging from women choosing suicide to rape and old men dying of the cold. A ceasefire was reached and remaining people were being allowed to evacuate, rebel forces said. However, BBC said it appeared to be broken by December 14 as shelling resumed, and 50,000 people remained in the city. On December 15, the BBC reported that 3,000 people were evacuated. Many of those people being evacuated were children. It is the children of Aleppo who have provided some of the most searing and heart-breaking photos that underscore the continuing tragedy of the Syrian conflict. The rebellion grew out of the pro-Democratic movements of the Arab Spring, but al-Assad has scored a strategic victory in his attempt to remain in power with the seizure of Aleppo. Here are some of the most searing recent photos out of Aleppo.
In this photo, Syrians, who were evacuated from rebel-held neighborhoods in the embattled city of Aleppo, arrive in the opposition-controlled Khan al-Aassal region, west of the city, on December 15, 2016, the first stop on their trip, where humanitarian groups will transport the civilians to temporary camps on the outskirts of Idlib and the wounded to field hospitals. (Getty)