The evacuation of the last rebel-held areas of the Syrian city of Aleppo has been suspended after pro-Government militias demanded wounded people also be brought out of two Shi'ite villages besieged by rebel fighters.

The second day of the operation to take fighters and civilians out of Aleppo's rebel enclave ground to a halt yesterday amid recriminations from all sides.

Aleppo was divided between Government and rebel areas in the nearly six-year civil war, but a lightning advance by the Syrian army and its allies has deprived the insurgents of most of their territory in a matter of weeks.

Russia said the Syrian army had established control over all districts of eastern Aleppo although government troops were suppressing isolated areas where rebel fighters continued to resist, the defence ministry in Moscow said.


Rebel sources accused pro-Government Shi'ite militias of opening fire on buses carrying evacuees from east Aleppo. Road blocks went up and a bus convoy was forced to turn back.

Rebels in eastern Aleppo went on high alert after pro-Government forces prevented civilians from leaving and deployed heavy weaponry on the road out of the area, a Syrian rebel commander said.

A Syrian official source said the evacuation was halted because rebels had sought to take out people they had abducted with them and tried to take weapons hidden in bags. This was denied by rebel groups.

A media outlet run by the pro-government Hezbollah group said protesters had blocked the road from the city, demanding that wounded people from the villages of Foua and Kefraya in nearby Idlib province should also be evacuated.

The outlet also said rebels had bombarded a road due to be used by buses to conduct the evacuation from the Shi'ite villages.

Iran, one of Syria's main allies, had demanded the villages be included in a ceasefire deal under which people are leaving Aleppo, rebel and United Nations officials have said.

A Syrian rebel source said all groups besieging the villages, including Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as Nusra Front, had agreed to let out injured people.

The UN says 50,000 people remain in rebel-held Aleppo, of whom about 10,000 would be taken to Idlib province and the rest would go to government-held city districts.


Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was working with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to try to start a new round of Syrian peace talks aimed at securing a nationwide ceasefire.

Putin said the new talks could be held in Kazakhstan and would complement UN-brokered negotiations that have been taking place intermittently in Geneva.

US Secretary of State John Kerry says the Syrian Government is carrying out "nothing short of a massacre" in Aleppo.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the UN Security Council would meet to discuss a quick deployment of UN observers to east Aleppo to ensure no atrocities and that aid reached the city.

Meanwhile, Syrian state television says a girl about 9 years old blew herself up in a police station in the Midan neighbourhood of Damascus. A witness in the area of the blast told Reuters a young girl entered the police station and, after asking to go to the toilet, blew herself up.