A new deal is being negotiated to complete the evacuation of rebel-held areas of Syria's east Aleppo which ground to a halt on Friday after demands from pro-government forces that people also be moved out of two villages besieged by insurgents. Rosanna Philpott reports.
Gunfire rings out as desperate residents try to flee eastern Aleppo. This amateur video purports to show terrified families, hugging their belongings, as they rush through the streets. It's not clear who was firing or if anyone was hurt. But one man, who films the evacuation, tells the camera this is the place where the buses were supposed to be. Thousands of people are still waiting to leave the area, according to the Red Cross. But the evacuation of rebel-held areas is on hold. As buses stand empty, a new deal between pro-government and opposition forces is being negotiated. The rebels say Iran is holding up the deal, and insist that two besieged Shi'ite villages be evacuated first. The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Sunday (December 18) on whether to send observers to monitor evacuation efforts. France has proposed U.N. officials go to besieged areas to report on the protection of civilians who remain. The draft text, seen by Reuters, also emphasizes that any evacuations must be voluntary. It's not immediately clear how Russia will vote on the proposal. Moscow has provided military backing to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops, and vetoed six Security Council resolutions on Syria since the conflict started in 2011.