Syrian army in full control of eastern Aleppo: Russia
Iran Press TV
Fri Dec 16, 2016 1:25PM
The Syrian military has wrested full control of the militant-held eastern Aleppo, scoring a major victory against terrorists in the strategic northwestern city, Russia says.
"The operation by the Syrian army aimed at liberating the militant-controlled neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo has been completed," Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement on Friday.
Syrian government forces "continue to eliminate isolated pockets of militant resistance" in eastern Aleppo, the statement read.
It further noted that more than 9,500 people, including over 4,500 militants and 337 wounded, have been taken out of eastern Aleppo.
All women and children have been evacuated, but in some parts of the city, "there are still groups of militants from radical and irreconcilable gangs, who are firing at Syria troops," it added.
Separately on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that negotiations were being planned in conjunction with Russia to bring together representatives of Syria's warring sides in Kazakhstan.
Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, Cavusoglu also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that any new Syria talks would be complementary to Geneva discussions.
Earlier on Friday, Putin said all parties in Syria must now work toward paving the way for a "nationwide" ceasefire after the liberation of Aleppo.
In another development on Friday, diplomats said France was drafting a United Nations Security Council resolution in a bid to ensure international observers for Aleppo evacuations and enable humanitarian aid to reach the city.
This is while he UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O'Brien will brief the Security Council later on Friday on the evacuation process.
The developments come as evacuations of civilians and militants from eastern Aleppo have been suspended after terrorists opened fire on the convoy at one of the crossing points.
The move by the militants is seen as a violation of a truce deal brokered by Russia and Turkey stipulating the evacuations.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the suspension, saying, meanwhile, that terrorist groups such as Ahrar al-Sham "have prevented buses and ambulances from entering Fuaa and Kafraya, despite pledging … that they would let the evacuation go ahead." The two government-held villages, situated in Idlib province, are under militant siege.
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