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Timetable of Diplomatic Rows When SAA Engaged in Liberation of Aleppo

17 December 2016 15:48

Timetable of Diplomatic Rows When SAA Engaged in Liberation of Aleppo

Aleppo, Syria’s former largest city, is now under full government control with the army operation to liberate its eastern districts from militants complete, the Russian reconciliation center in the war-torn Arab country said Friday. Aleppo became the focus of international diplomacy over recent months, with Russian and US diplomats locked in tireless negotiations to settle the violence gripping the city while the rest of the country increasingly observed a ceasefire, Sputnik reports.

Friday’s announcement came several days after the Syrian army took over some 96 percent of east Aleppo’s militant-held areas. On Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said a ceasefire deal was reached between government forces and militants to allow for the evacuation of civilians. The deal has since been violated a number of times, yet this did not stop both civilians and militants from seizing the chance to leave the city.

Russia and Turkey agreed to oversee evacuations from Aleppo, with the numbers reaching up to 10,000 fresh evacuees throughout Friday.

The latest ceasefire collapsed in September, with Syrian forces renewing their offensive after accusing militants of violating the agreement. The United States temporarily suspended contacts with Russia after the advance began, accusing Russian jets covering Syrian forces of hitting hospitals and targeting aid workers in so-called double strikes on the same area.

The West also said Russia was attacking moderates rather than terrorists. The Russian side stressed its strikes only targeted militants and accused the United States of failing to separate moderate opposition forces, claimed by the latter to be present in the city, from terrorists such as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

The diplomatic row continued to escalate, with the United States, the European Union and some UN officials accusing Russia and Damascus of committing atrocities during the rapid offensive on militant-held areas.

In response, Russia stressed the operation was being carried out as humanely as possible with care taken to let civilians flee along available corridors. The Syrian government also allowed lightly armed militants safe passage out of the city into the Idlib province, but the opportunity was not seized as al-Nusra Front vowed to continue fighting
Russia also brokered a number of humanitarian pauses to let civilians flee the fighting, but militants prevented a mass exodus from their territory, resulting in a limited trickle of refugees out of the city.

Despite expectations for the final liberation of Aleppo to take place around a week ago, the watershed moment was delayed with the Syrian army halting its advance to pay heed to the humanitarian situation in the city.

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