The Syrian army suspended combat operations in Aleppo on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“Combat operations by the Syrian army in east Aleppo have been suspended because the largest operation of evacuation of civilians from east Aleppo is being carried out. A column of about 8 thousand people, it’s a tremendous operation,” Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister said that Western states have not proposed any concrete steps to solve the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo. Lavrov said that Russia is aimed to “fight terrorists in Syria till the end” in accordance to a UN Security Council resolution.
“Our strategy is very simple as it is based on a UNSC resolution which states that terrorists should be relentlessly fought until their full elimination.”
He also said that the UNSC resolution stipulates solving humanitarian issues and launching a political process in the country.
He said that the United States does not target al-Nusra Front terrorist group.
“As for al-Nusra Front, the US doesn’t ‘touch’ it at all, but during all our talks they [US authorities] strived to formulate agreements in such a way to exclude al-Nusra Front as a target for strikes,” Lavrov said.
“We cannot accept that as al-Nusra Front is recognized by the UN, the US, Russia and other countries as a terrorist organization,” he emphasized.
Lavrov also said that Russian and US experts will discuss militants’ pullout from Aleppo during a meeting in Geneva on December 10.
The Russian top diplomat called on UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura to stop “sabotaging” the Syrian political process. He also called for a new round of the Syrian peace talks.
Russia, US military experts, diplomats to discuss Aleppo in Geneva on Dec. 10
HAMBURG /Germany/, December 8. /TASS/. Russia’s and US’ military experts and diplomats will meet in Geneva on December 10 to discuss the situation in Aleppo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.
The minister said he had had a telephone conversation and two meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Hamburg.
“An agreement was reached to organize a meeting between military experts and diplomats in Geneva on Saturday to ultimately finalize the work that has been conducted sporadically these days on a document outlining ways and methods of the final resolution of the Eastern Aleppo problem by means of withdrawing all militants and those civilians who want to do that,” he said. “Concrete details will be discussed in Geneva.”
However the Russian top diplomat admitted that it is impossible to be sure that meeting will ultimately take place, bearing in mind the developments of the past week when the Americans had first initiated a document Russia was ready to take as a basis for talks and then revoked it to offer another text.
“We reacted to all the steps taken by the American side promptly, in close contact with our defense ministry,” he noted. “I will touch wood so that it is not frustrated this time, like it was previously.”
Lavrov drew attention to the fact that some of his interlocutors, in particular the French minister and a number of other partners during bilateral talks, as well as many delegations during the plenary meeting expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Aleppo.
“But once you tell them what Russia is doing, what our military at the center for reconciliation of the warring sides at Hmeimim are doing, once you ask them about similar actions on their part, no concrete things are said,” he noted.
“By the way, I can tell you that today the Syrian army suspended active combat operations in Eastern Aleppo as another large-scale operation to evacuate civilians is being held,” the Russian top diplomat stressed. “In involves about 8,000 civilians. It is a colossal operation and route is five kilometers long.”.