Turkey Confirms Ceasefire, Evacuation Deal Reached In Aleppo

Turkey confirms ceasefire, evacuation deal reached in Aleppo

ANKARA, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 14th Dec, 2016 ) : Turkey confirmed a ceasefire deal was agreed with the Syrian opposition after talks with Russia which would mean rebels from eastern Aleppo would evacuate, the Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

"We can confirm there is a ceasefire in the city after talks between Russian military and the opposition in eastern Aleppo," Huseyin Muftuoglu told reporters. The agreement means civilians would be evacuated from the northern Syrian city followed by rebel fighters, the spokesman said.

The deal comes as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is close to recapturing all of east Aleppo, which rebels have held since 2012. A Turkish government official said the agreement came into force at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) and was a result of negotiations between the Turkish intelligence and the Russian military.

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

"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. The official added under the agreement, Ankara and Moscow will serve as guarantors.

But a rebel official told AFP in Beirut the deal sponsored by Russia and Turkey would begin "within hours". 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.

Your Thoughts and Comments