Evacuations escorted by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross from besieged neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo came to an end on 22 December.
An inter-agency UN team were present at the Ramoussah Bridge to observe the evacuation process since it began on 15 December.
Overall, the ICRC estimates that more than 35,000 people have been evacuated from the besieged neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo. 734 patients were medically evacuated.
As of 23 December, at least 53,773 have been displaced from eastern Aleppo to Government controlled areas.
UN and partners are accessing most areas of eastern Aleppo that have recently been retaken by the Government to assess the situation of civilians and respond to their needs. Access to all areas of Aleppo is required.
Evacuations escorted by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from besieged neighbourhoods in eastern Aleppo came to an end on 22 December. Since the evacuation began on 15 December, UN staff were present at the Ramouseh Government checkpoint in Aleppo until the last four buses departed at 8:25pm on 22 December.
An estimated 35,000 people were evacuated according to ICRC, including some 15,000 people since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2328 which entailed immediate, unhindered access for observation of monitoring civilian evacuations from Aleppo. Overall, 308 buses, 61 ambulances and 1,231 private vehicles were used in the evacuation. Among the evacuees were 734 patients who were medically evacuated by ambulances to Turkey, Idleb and rural western Aleppo according to the World Health Organization. Seven of the medical evacuees died, 95 are critically ill and 663 remain hospitalized. Only 64 have been discharged.
As part of the eastern Aleppo agreement, 1,312 people were evacuated from the besieged villages of Foah and Kefrayeh as of 23 December. People evacuated from Foah and Kefrayeh were initially moved to IDP reception centers in Aleppo city, while some stayed in Aleppo, others moved on to sites prepared by the Government in Tartous, Homs and Latakkia. The United Nations teams in Homs and Tartous have been providing humanitarian support throughout.
Protection concerns were reported in the last few weeks for IDPs moving to western Aleppo. Credible reports were received that armed groups inside the besieged enclave tried to prevent civilians from fleeing on multiple occasions. Detention is a real and enduring risk which can persist over months for those lacking adequate documents. In this regard, there were some credible reports of detention in IDP sites. Multiple reports were also received of males being detained upon crossing to Government held areas, but this however could not be independently verified.
Other protections concerns include the omnipresence of munitions and UXOs in public places and residential dwellings, placing inhabitants, especially children, at risk. Looting has been widely observed within eastern Aleppo by civilians and non-civilians alike, and was identified as one of the primary concerns of local residents and returnees. Additional protection risks faced by the displaced relate to the lack of civil documentation, family separations, widespread traumatization and high prevalence of persons with special needs.
Following the conclusion of the evacuation, the highest priority is to access areas recently retaken by the Government, and continue to respond to people in need throughout the city. The UN and its partners are accessing most of the areas of the city to assess the situation of civilians and respond to their needs. The UN's current focus in Aleppo city is to assist and protect the most vulnerable throughout the city, which includes scaling up the response where needed.
As of 23 December, at least 53,773 have been registered as displaced from eastern Aleppo to Government controlled areas since 24 November as follows:
- Western Aleppo: 21,698 IDPs in western Aleppo
- Areas in eastern Aleppo retaken by the Government: 4,070 IDPs in private houses in Al-Mashatiyeh and Al-Mouasalat, 1,950 IDPs in Al-Qaterji, 600 IDPs in Al-Qaterji, 9,700 IDPs in Hanano and 5,255 ID in Tariq Al-bab
- IDP sites: 10,000 IDPs in Jibreen industrial and 500 IDPs staying overnight at Mahalej.
In parallel, as of December 21, the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster reported 26,070 people arriving from eastern Aleppo to 99 different locations in non-State armed group-controlled Idleb and rural western Aleppo. Most of the arrivals are in urban areas and hosted by friends, relatives and families. Some 12% of the new arrivals reportedly moved to informal IDP camps in the northern countryside of Idleb and Aleppo governorates.
There are currently 105 UN staff members in Aleppo carrying out humanitarian response throughout the city wherever we have access. As part of the ongoing surge support to Aleppo, the UN requested approval from the Government for up to 100 additional surge staff to strengthen monitoring and response in Aleppo. These staff will be ready to deploy as soon as approval is received and as early as Wednesday 28 December.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.