Aleppo militants safe passage deal with US unreal: Russia
Russia has denied claims made by militants that it has reached an agreement with the US over giving the terrorists safe passage out of Syria’s Aleppo.
On Sunday, Aleppo militants told Reuters that Moscow and Washington had tabled a proposal aimed at granting the remaining militants in Aleppo and their families passage out of the city.
Following the announcement, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the militants' claims were fictitious, adding that Moscow is currently working towards the establishment of the required conditions for the safe extractions of civilians from Aleppo.
"The issue of withdrawing militants is the subject of separate agreements. This agreement has not yet been reached, largely because the United States insists on unacceptable terms," said Ryabkov.
He noted that talks between the US and Russia would carry on in Geneva.
The Syrian government has been making advances in militant-held areas in eastern Aleppo.
According to Reuters, militant officials had claimed that the Syrian government would issue public guarantees pertaining to the safety of militants attempting to leave Aleppo.
It would also mandate members of the terrorist group formerly known as al-Nusra Front to head towards the Syrian northwestern province of Idlib, but militants from other groups could go to other regions, including the Turkish border.
The plan was also said to be carried out within 48 hours under the observation of the United Nations. According to the plan, the militants would also be allowed to take their light arms with them.
Syria forces continue to purge Aleppo
Since it began its offensive to retake the divided city of Aleppo in mid-November, the Syrian government has retaken over 93 percent of the city, which was once divided between the militants and the government.
On Sunday, Syrian forces retook the militant-held neighborhood of Maadi and several of its surrounding districts, said a UK-based monitoring group.
Earlier, they liberated Asila and Aajam districts, southeast of Aleppo's ancient citadel, as well as the southern regions of the Karam al-Da’ada neighborhood.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced that over 10,000 civilians were able to flee militant-held areas as the government forces progressed over the last 24 hours.
78,000 civilians escaped Aleppo since November
Since the operations began to liberate the city, 78,000 civilians have successfully been evacuated with the aid of Russian Center for Reconciliation, says Moscow.
“Over the past night, 2,124 civilians, including 1,007 children, were evacuated from the militant-held areas of Aleppo, with help from the Russian Center for Reconciliation. Some 291 militants laid down their weapons and crossed into the western part of the city to surrender to Syrian government troops,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov.
“Currently, the Russian Center for Reconciliation, through humanitarian corridors near Karim El-Hun and Mahayar, has organized the evacuation of [another group of] about 8,000 civilians from the eastern parts of Aleppo to the safe areas of the city,” Konashenkov added. “All of them have been placed in special humanitarian centers where they are provided with hot food and medical help if required."
The conflict in Syria, which flared up in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 people, according to an estimate by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.