Russia drafting document to resolve Syria conflict, hopes for regional support
Iran Press TV
Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:49PM
Russia says it is drawing up a declaration document that stipulates a roadmap for ending the nearly six years of foreign-sponsored militancy gripping Syria, expressing hope that the text will gain support from Iran and Turkey.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the announcement at meetings in Moscow on Tuesday with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and Fikri Isik, respectively.
"Today experts are working on the text of the Moscow declaration on immediate steps toward resolving the Syrian crisis. This is a thorough, extremely necessary document," Shoigu said, adding that the text was aimed at achieving a ceasefire in the Arab county.
All previous efforts by the US and its allies to agree on coordinated actions in Syria were "doomed to failure," as "none of them wielded real influence over the situation on the ground," he added.
The Russian defense minister further stressed that Tehran and Ankara's approval of Moscow's document shows "readiness to guarantee and jointly address concrete questions related to resolve [the crisis in] Syria."
Syria permits more UN presence to monitor Aleppo evacuation
In another development on Tuesday, Jens Laerke, the spokesman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said the Syrian government had authorized the world body to send an additional 20 staff to eastern Aleppo, where they will monitor evacuations from the formerly militant-held region.
The new deployment would "almost triple" the number of international staffers" in Aleppo, Laerke told a news briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva, adding, "The task is to monitor and observe the evacuations."
On Monday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution urging the quick deployment of monitors.
The evacuations are part of the fragile Aleppo ceasefire deal, brokered by Turkey and Russia, that also includes the evacuation of the residents of the villages of Foua and Kefraya in Idlib Province, which have been under terrorists' siege.
Some 750 people have been taken out of the two villages so far, where 20 buses headed to early on Tuesday morning, he noted.
Trilateral agreement to guarantee Syria talks, truce
Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Tuesday that Moscow, Tehran and Ankara had agreed to guarantee Syria peace talks, while backing expansion of a ceasefire in the country and free access to humanitarian aid.
He made the remarks following discussions in Moscow with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mevlut Cavusoglu, respectively, citing a joint statement.
"Iran, Russia and Turkey are ready to assist in preparing the agreement in the making between the Syrian government and the opposition and to become its guarantor," Lavrov said.
"Right now the evacuation is wrapping up," he said, voicing hope that the process would finish in a maximum of two days.
Russia destroyed 62,000 terrorist targets in Syria
Additionally on Tuesday, Russia said that since the beginning of its anti-terror operation in Syria, Russia's Aerospace Force had flown 30,000 sorties and destroyed 62,000 terrorist targets.
"As at December 20, 2016 the Aerospace Force has carried out more than 30,000 sorties to have eliminated more than 62,000 military targets," said Pavel Kurachenko, the deputy chief of Russia's General Staff and first deputy chief of the Aerospace Force.
Russia launched an anti-terror air campaign in Syria on September 30, 2015 at the request of the Damascus government.
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