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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Aleppo win great step for Syria, region: Russian President Putin

Iran Press TV

Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:51AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the recent liberation of Syria's second city of Aleppo as a sizeable step toward the restoration of stability in the Arab country and the region in general.

"The liberation of Aleppo from radical elements is a very important part of the normalization in Syria, and I hope, for the region overall," Putin said at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday.

The remarks came a day after the Syrian military announced it had attained full control of the northwestern city, having completely cleansed its eastern side of militants for the first time since 2012.

The victory came about despite military support for the militants by the United States, Turkey, and some Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region.

Russia has been carrying out an aerial campaign against militants in Syria, including formerly in Aleppo, on a request from the Syrian government. Iran, too, has been offering Damascus advisory military help.

"Everything needs to be done for fighting to stop on all Syrian territory," Putin further added. "In any case, we will strive toward this."

Russia, Iran, and Turkish foreign ministers recently met in Moscow to discuss means of resolving the Syrian conflict.

Militants and civilians had been evacuated from Aleppo and militant-besieged areas elsewhere under a deal between Russia and Turkey earlier.

During the meeting with Putin, Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, said the evacuation of militants from Aleppo was now complete, creating the conditions for a ceasefire deal covering the entire Syrian territory.

He said some 34,000 people had been evacuated from the formerly militant-held areas of eastern Aleppo since December 15.

"In my view, we are very close to achieving an agreement on a full ceasefire across the territory of Syria," the Russian defense chief said.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also called for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria. Ankara has been supporting anti-Damascus militants in the Syrian conflict, which began in March 2011.

Also on Friday, Putin addressed an annual conference, saying that the evacuations in Aleppo would not have been possible without his country, Iran, and Turkey and the goodwill of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He urged a nationwide ceasefire deal and said the four sides had agreed to attend peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, to try to resolve the conflict in Syria.

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