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Syria’s Aleppo: Almost 150 Vulnerable People Evacuated From Old City

Rebel Positions Pounded in Brutal Aleppo Offensive 1:00

Almost 150 civilians who were either disabled or in dire need of medial care were evacuated from a hospital Old City of Aleppo late Wednesday, humanitarian groups said.

It was the first major evacuation from the eastern part of Aleppo. It came hours after the Russian-backed Syrian regime seized control of the entire Old City, according to the Syrian Observatory from Human Rights, a major blow for the rebels.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it evacuated 148 people from an elderly care home whose role had been expanded during the war to accommodate patients with physical disabilities or mental health problems.

Image: A patient is evacuated from a hospital in the Old City of Aleppo, in a joint operation by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC)
A patient is evacuated from a hospital in the Old City of Aleppo, in a joint operation by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Wednesday. Noor Hazouri / SARC

"These patients and civilians had been trapped in the area for days because of heavy clashes nearby and as the front line kept drawing closer," said the ICRC's Head of Delegation in Syria, Marianne Gasser, ICRC delegation head for Syria, said in a statement. "It must have been terrifying for them."

The operation, which also involved the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, saw 118 people taken to hospitals and the remaining 30 transferred to shelters.

"Tragically, for some, the operation came too late," according to the ICRC.

At least 11 people died before the humanitarian groups could reach them, the humanitarian organization said, either because they were caught in the crossfire or they did not have access to the correct medication.

FROM DEC. 4: No Room For The Dead in Aleppo's Cemeteries 0:44

Their remains have been collected and will be identified and returned to their families.

Restoring full control over Aleppo, Syria's most populous city before the war, would be a major prize for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, made more than half of Syrians homeless and created the world's worst refugee crisis.

FROM DEC. 4, 2016: Aleppo Video Diary 1:38