Kerry Calls on Syrian Opposition in Aleppo to Make First Step Toward Peace
15:38 10.12.2016(updated 17:52 10.12.2016)
US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Syrian rebels on Saturday to make the first step toward ending the fighting in Aleppo, after meeting foreign ministers from allied countries.
The US foreign policy chief stressed that a peace in the disputed northern city would not immediately settle the conflict elsewhere in Syria. He ruled out it could be resolved through brute force alone.
The Saturday meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria in Paris brought together foreign ministers from the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Qatar, and Turkey, as well as envoys from other regional powers and rebels.
Earlier on Saturday, the Defense Ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said that Russia's center for Syrian reconciliation helped nearly 50,000 civilians leave Eastern Aleppo in the past two days.
On Saturday alone over 20,000 individuals left the city and 1,217 militants laid down their arms, he said.
Aleppo has been a major battleground in Syria in recent months, engaging government forces, jihadists, and numerous opposition groups. Over the past three weeks, the Syrian troops and allied militia have liberated over 80 percent of the territory of eastern Aleppo, which was captured by militants in 2012.
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