Almost 8,500 Citizens Leave Militant-Held Districts in Syria’s Aleppo

Almost 8,500 Citizens Leave Militant-Held Districts in Syria's Aleppo

    Around 8,500 people, including 2,900 children, left militant-controlled districts in the Syrian city of Aleppo in the past 24 hours with the help of Russian servicemen, the Russian Peace Coordination Center in Syria said Friday.

“In the past 24 hours alone, 8,461 city residents, including 2,934 children left districts in the Eastern part of Aleppo city with the assistance of the Russian center of reconciliation,” the center said in a statement released by the ministry.

According to the statement, over a dozen militants who had been operating in Aleppo received amnesty after laying down arms.

“Fourteen militants, laying down arms, walked out to the Western part of the city towards Syrian troops. In accordance with the decision of the Syrian president all of them were granted amnesty,” the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said.

Russian servicemen have also demined about 6 hectares (almost 15 acres) of residential blocks in Eastern Aleppo, the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said.

“The clearance of explosives has been fully completed in residential areas over a total area of six hectares. The central water pumping station has been demined and rebuilt, two power substations have been demined, as well as schools and two mosques,” the center said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on Thursday that Syrian government forces suspended “active military activities” against militants in Eastern Aleppo to enable the withdrawal of civilians from the city.

The Russian foreign minister also urged the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to “stop sabotaging” the Geneva Syria peace talks, RT reported.

Speaking to reporters, he also expressed hope that those responsible for the recent attack on a Russian mobile hospital in Western Aleppo will be brought to justice. The assault happened earlier this week and left two female paramedics dead and one chief pediatrician severely injured.

“We are just doing our job, probably not everyone likes it, and a recent targeted strike against our hospital is yet more proof of that. But I am convinced that all measures will be taken to punish those responsible, and to prevent similar (attacks) in the future,” Lavrov said.

He noted that the US State Department previously expressed regret over the incident, but emphasized that “it has to clarify” all the circumstances. However, according to Foreign Minister “in cases when the Syrian government can be suspected, Americans are not clarifying anything, but are immediately heading to the microphone, demanding (the perpetrators) be punished.”

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