Turkey says 100,000 civilians could be evacuated from Aleppo
ANKARA - Up to 100,000 civilians could be evacuated from the Syrian city of Aleppo, the Turkish deputy prime minister said Thursday, with Turkey possibly setting up a camp in Syria for the evacuees.
"Eighty to 100,000 civilians could be evacuated," Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said during a news conference at the Turkish-Syrian border, quoted by CNN Turk broadcaster.
Kaynak added that if a "request" came from the Syrian opposition, then a camp could be set up in Syria.
"The 20 buses taking evacuees from Aleppo towards Idlib... have arrived in a safe region under the control of the Free Syrian Army," Kaynak confirmed to reporters at the Cilvegozu border crossing in sourthern Turkey.
The Free Syrian Army is the name Ankara gives to moderate opposition forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
He said there were 30 to 35 wounded were among the group, "some with advanced burns, some of them heavily injured".
The Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) NGO said in a statement that it had met the first group of people arriving in the Rashid region of Aleppo.
"(IHH) distributed relief supplies to people who arrived urgently. Food and clothing were distributed to those who came in the first place," IHH said in a statement.
A Syrian military source said in Aleppo that 951 evacuees, including 108 wounded, were in the convoy. Most were civilians but about 200 rebel fighters were among them, the source said.
The evacuation is part of the Turkey and Russia-sponsored ceasefire deal agreed on Tuesday with rebels, which initially collapsed after renewed clashes.
The plan -- now being implemented -- was for civilians and fighters to leave rebel-held parts of east Aleppo after weeks of bombardment during a fierce offensive launched by the Damascus regime, supported by Russian warplanes and Iran-backed militias, to recapture the whole city.