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Hopes have risen that a planned evacuation of rebel-held parts of the Syrian city of Aleppo will now begin soon, after an earlier deal collapsed. Rebel sources said a new truce had been in effect from 03:00GMT and evacuations would take place early on Thursday. Sources from the Syrian military, the pro-government Hezbollah and Russian media said preparations were under way. Rebel fighters and civilians had been due to leave early on Wednesday, but a ceasefire collapsed. Reuters news agency quoted one Syrian official source on Thursday morning as saying that the “operation to organise the departure of gunmen from eastern Aleppo has now started”. A media unit run by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia Muslim movement backing the Syrian government, said there had been “big complications” but that “intensive contacts between the responsible parties… led to re-consolidating a ceasefire to exit armed fighters from eastern districts in the next few hours”.

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