Thousands of Aleppo residents in limbo as transport fails to arrive

The remains of besieged Aleppo are a freezing, desperate chaos, with tens of thousands of hungry, frightened people waiting long hours for spaces on buses they fear may never depart, aid workers and trapped civilians have said.

“By bus, by car, by walking, even crawling, we are ready to leave by any way, we just want to get out,” said a 26-year-old medical technician Ahmad Abo Dyab, after a day of waiting for space on a bus before the evacuation system collapsed on Friday. “We have given up on our homes, our belongings, everything: now we only want to get out.”

Government and rebel officials said on Saturday that a faltering ceasefire and evacuation deal had been patched up and departures would soon resume. But as afternoon stretched into evening there was no sign that vehicles were on their way, leaving tens of thousands facing another cold, hungry night under siege.

Only 8,000 people had made it out when rebel fighters broke terms of the ceasefire, and the buses out were abruptly stopped. There were also reports that forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, had detained and robbed some people trying to leave, before sending them back.

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