Deal reached for evacuation of civilians from Aleppo after Turkey's mediation

Published 13.12.2016 00:00
Updated 13.12.2016 22:13
Deal reached for evacuation of civilians from Aleppo after Turkey's mediation

An agreement for the imminent evacuation of civilians and opposition fighters from east Aleppo in Syria was reached on Tuesday after mediation efforts from Turkey.

Turkey's foreign ministry confirmed the reports of the ceasefire, saying the civilians and opposition fighters will be moved to Idlib under the deal reached after Turkey's weeks-long efforts.

According to a senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to media, said the ceasefire agreement was reached as a result of negotiations between the Turkish intelligence and the Russian military.

He told Daily Sabah that Turkey and Russia will serve as guarantors under the agreement, which will provide safe passage for civilians and moderate opposition fighters. After reaching Idlib from Aleppo, the civilians and fighters will be free to relocate.

As of 07:00 p.m.GMT, all military action in eastern Aleppo has stopped, and the Assad regime is now in control of the city, Russia also announced.

According to the truce deal, there will be no limitations on moderate rebels leaving Eastern Aleppo joining the Turkish-backed moderates currently fighting Daesh as part of Operation Euphrates Shield, official said.

"An agreement has been reached for the evacuation of the residents of Aleppo, civilians and fighters with their light weapons, from the besieged districts of east Aleppo," said Yasser al-Youssef from the political office of the key Nurredin al-Zinki group.

He added the deal was "sponsored by Turkey and Russia" and would be implemented "within hours".
An officials from the Syrian opposition group, Sultan Murad Brigade, said first buses carrying people from Aleppo will leave Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

Assad regime forces and Iranian-backed militias have been carrying out executions in Aleppo, entering homes and killing some civilians "on the spot". The United Nations said that some 85 civilians were killed by regime forces on Tuesday, however, the number given by local sources is much higher.

An estimated 100,000 city residents remain under siege by the regime and its allies in some 8.6 square kilometers of eastern Aleppo.

Over the course of the last 27 days, some 990 civilians have been killed in eastern Aleppo in attacks by the Syrian regime and allied militias, local sources report.

The recent escalation comes amid attempts by the Russia-backed Assad regime to reestablish control over parts of Aleppo captured four years ago by armed opposition groups.

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which had erupted as part of the "Arab Spring" uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

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