Syria establishing full control over Aleppo, Turkey wants safe evacuation of militants
Iran Press TV
Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:48AM
As Syrian troops are about to reestablish full government control over Syria's second-largest city of Aleppo, Turkey has prepared a meeting with Russia to discuss the safe passage of the militants and out of the flashpoint city.
On Monday, Syrian soldiers forced the militants out of six of Aleppo's residential districts after seizing the key Sheikh Saeed neighborhood on the city's southeastern outskirts.
The Syrian military has said it is in the "final phase" of fully liberating the city. The liberation of the city will deal the worst blow to the foreign-backed militants since they took up arms in Syria in 2011.
Early on Tuesday, the troops were conducting searches in Bustan al-Qasr, Kalasseh, Fardaws, and the other neighborhoods they had captured around Aleppo's Old City a day earlier, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Locals have, meanwhile, been celebrating the city's imminent liberation on the streets. There have been reports that the remaining pockets of militants in Aleppo have set up checkpoints to stop civilians from leaving the city.
Also on Tuesday, a senior Turkish official told Reuters that Russian and Turkish officials would be holding a meeting on Wednesday in Turkey to discuss the possibility of opening a corridor to evacuate remaining militants and civilians from the city and set up of a ceasefire.
"Efforts are still underway to open a corridor for the rebels and civilians in Aleppo, and evacuate them from the region. There has been no agreement on this issue yet," the Turkish official said anonymously.
Turkey has been supporting anti-Damascus militants during the course of the Syrian conflict. It is accused of providing safe passage into and out of Syria for Daesh terrorists operating in the Arab country. However, in the wake of a failed coup in Turkey in July, Ankara has been tilting toward Moscow.
Later on Tuesday, it was reported that a group of Russian sappers had performed a mine clearance operation in one of the schools in a liberated eastern district of Aleppo.
According to the commander of the clearing detachment, Major Ivan Gromov, the school was "a stronghold" of the militants.
Gromov said that the premises were used because "the school is connected with the children" and the Syrian army would not attack the militants there because of that.
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