Ceasefire and evacuation deal reached in Aleppo

Turkey confirms a ceasefire deal was agreed upon which will allow Syrian rebels to evacuate from war-ravaged eastern Aleppo.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Syrian forces celebrate their victory in eastern Aleppo
Syrian forces celebrate their victory in eastern Aleppo
Reuters

Turkey confirmed on Tuesday that a ceasefire deal was agreed following talks between the Syrian opposition and Russia, which would mean rebels evacuating from war-ravaged eastern Aleppo.

The agreement comes as Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime is close to recapturing all of east Aleppo, which rebels have held since 2012.

"We can confirm there is a ceasefire in the city after talks between Russian military and the opposition in eastern Aleppo," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu told reporters.

The deal means civilians would be evacuated from the northern Syrian city followed by rebel fighters, the spokesman said.

A Turkish government official said the agreement came into force at 6:00 p.m. local time (1500 GMT).

"Our nation spent weeks trying to secure a humanitarian corridor. These efforts in the last days increased," Muftuoglu added.

He warned that such a fragile situation in Syria required caution, although Turkey was pleased with the step taken to secure the ceasefire.

Ankara also confirmed the deal stipulated that those leaving would go to the northwest province of Idlib, almost completely controlled by a powerful rebel alliance known as the Army of Conquest.

The "Army of Conquest" is a coalition of rebels and jihadists including the former Al-Nusra Front formed this past August.

"Civilians and moderate rebels with light weapons will be granted safe passage to Idlib. Once they reach Idlib, they will be free to relocate," the government official said.

A rebel official told AFP the deal sponsored by Russia and Turkey would begin "within hours".

Amid concerns over what will happen to Aleppo residents, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek wrote on Twitter that Turkey "is to set up a tent city to accommodate up to 80,000 Syrian refugees fleeing Aleppo".

He did not give any further details.

Earlier Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey would intensify talks with Assad ally Russia for a ceasefire to end the "humanitarian tragedy" in Aleppo.

The deal comes hours after the Turkish foreign ministry accused Damascus and its supporters of breaching international humanitarian law in Aleppo in a statement.

It added Turkey was "horrified and outraged by the massacres" in the second city including women and children.

The ministry was referring to comments from the United Nations that it had received credible reports that at least 82 civilians, including 11 women and 13 children, had been killed in recent days in the city.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday said he is alarmed by reports of atrocities against "a large number" of civilians, including women and children, in Aleppo, and had asked his envoy Staffan de Mistura to follow up.

AFP contributed to this report.




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