Syrians leave a rebel-held area of Aleppo towards the government-held side on December 13, 2016 during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake the embattled city. AFP / KARAM AL-MASRI
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In the last rebel-held pocket of Aleppo, residents were bidding a tearful farewell to their battleground city, expecting to evacuate, only to be plunged back into a familiar nightmare.The tiny enclave still held by rebels in the ravaged east of the city had been quiet for hours, after a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia was announced Tuesday to allow civilians and fighters to leave. Civilians had gathered in the streets from early morning, devastated at the prospect of exile from their city but relieved to finally escape the hell created by years of bombardment and a monthslong siege. The correspondent saw several wounded civilians as well as a regime tank turning its cannon toward opposition-held districts and opening fire.Crowds of civilians had gathered in the chilly streets to await evacuation, after weeks of heavy government fire and a siege that left food supplies scarce.
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