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Evacuations continue from east Aleppo, as remaining rebels and civilians wait in freezing weather for transportation out of the city.

The end of the evacuations may be coming soon: NPR's Alice Fordham reports that regime forces might be entering the tiny enclave that has been held by rebels as early as Thursday evening.

The fall of eastern Aleppo to the forces aligned with Syrian President Bashar Assad has been a foregone conclusion for weeks now. The question was whether civilians and fighters would be allowed to leave.

Evacuations of embattled eastern Aleppo, which began Thursday after days of efforts to negotiate a cease-fire, have come to a halt.

Thousands of civilians and fighters have already been evacuated from the rebel-held enclave: Some 3,000 civilians were evacuated in the first few convoys, along with more than 40 wounded people, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday.

The aid group anticipated it would take days to fully evacuate east Aleppo.

After years of devastating war, days of increasing desperation and the collapse of one cease-fire, evacuations are underway in besieged eastern Aleppo.

Live images on Syrian state TV showed ambulances entering the rebel-held enclave on Thursday morning to evacuate the wounded. Aid groups confirm that evacuations have begun — despite reports of a brief burst of gunfire targeting ambulances.

In a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday, a special commission to South Sudan described the state of the country in the starkest terms possible. Atrocities like murder and gang rape are happening on an "epic" scale, reported the commission's chief, who warned that the world's youngest country now "stands on the brink of an all-out ethnic civil war."

As President Bashar Assad's army pushes into the last few neighborhoods controlled by rebels in Aleppo, the Syrian leader can claim a stronger position than at any point since the early days of a war that broke out in 2011.

This doesn't mean Syria's bloodletting is over, but it is entering a new phase.

Assad acknowledged this in an interview Wednesday with Russian television:

As the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad advanced on the last rebel-held section of Aleppo, aid groups and activists described horrific scenes of death and bloodshed.

Now rebel groups say a truce has been reached with Russia, and there's hope that civilian evacuations will be possible on Tuesday night.

In what could mark an escalation of tensions with the West, commercial satellite images suggest that Russia is moving a new generation of nuclear-capable missiles into Eastern Europe.

In central Damascus, it's perfectly clear that President Bashar Assad is firmly in control. In the souks of the Old City, his face looks out of almost every shop window, pinned up next to gold jewelry or intricate rugs. No one has a bad word to say about him, at least not to a Western journalist.

In rebel enclaves nearby, forces loyal to Assad are creeping back into control. After years of siege tactics, opposition forces in the suburbs of Damascus are increasingly making deals that see their fighters heading into rebel-held areas.

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Khaled Abdullah/Reuters 

A new book, "The Drone Memos," allows readers to sift through once-secret documents detailing aspects of the Obama administration’s practice of targeted killings of terrorism suspects.  

“You look at those documents, and you realize immediately this is a practice we have institutionalized and entrenched and normalized,” says Jameel Jaffer, the former ACLU lawyer who led the battle to obtain the papers.

When the last remaining hospital in besieged eastern Aleppo crumbled under a wave of artillery strikes on Nov. 18, one of the casualties was 25-year-old nurse Kefah.

"The last time he called me was one night before he was killed," says Dr. A.M. — an intensive care specialist based in Detroit who, for the past four years, has been providing training and support via Skype and WhatsApp to medical staff in Aleppo. He asked that we only use his initials because the Syrian government has persecuted doctors — and their families — for treating rebels.

In Syria, thousands of civilians are fleeing eastern Aleppo as pro-government forces advance on rebel-held territory.

The city has been divided between the regime-held west and rebel-controlled east since 2012. Now, as The Two-Way reported Sunday, government forces are pushing to split the rebel-held territory in half.

Architecture was one of Adolf Hitler's passions, and he commissioned hundreds of buildings and arenas reminiscent of imperial Rome to inspire and intimidate.

It's a legacy Germany has struggled to erase by re-purposing or razing Nazi-era structures. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, for example, was placed in an old SS barracks in Nuremburg, while the German Finance Ministry took over the Nazi aviation building in Berlin.

The Berlin bunker where Hitler spent his final days was reduced to a parking lot.

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Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

As the brutal civil war in Syria grinds on in its fifth year, it's clear that civilians have borne the brunt of the tragedy. 

Syrian and Russian armed forces are regularly criticized for bombing civilians in rebel-held areas.

That's well documented in media reports. 

But people like Michael Beshara, a Syrian American who lives in upstate New York, argue that the Western media's portrayal of the war in Syria glosses over the human tragedy in government-controlled areas.

Editor's Note: This story was originally published on Sept. 27, 2016, and is being republished with minor updates following the death of Cuba's Fidel Castro.

How's this for historical coincidence: Fidel Castro and his rag-tag fighters assembled in Mexico, navigated an overcrowded boat to Cuba, and unleashed a 1956 insurgency that spawned countless imitators in the decades that followed. On Thursday, Colombia and the FARC rebels signed a deal to end the last major leftist uprising in Latin America — one day before Castro died.

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Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

Even by the grim standards of Syria’s five-year-old civil war, the news from Aleppo has been particularly shocking in recent days. 

Syrian military forces and their Russian allies appear to be trying to wipe out whatever remains of the opposition in the northern city with an intense bombing campaign. 

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