Turkey, Russia and Iran to discuss Syria in Moscow

A wounded Syrian woman from the al-Sukari neighbourhood is helped onto the back of a truck as she flees during the ongoing government forces military operation to retake remaining rebel-held areas in the northern embattled city of Aleppo on December 14, 2016.

Turkey, Russia and Iran will hold a meeting in Moscow on December 27 to try to find a solution to the five-year conflict in Syria, Ankara said on Wednesday.

“We are striving to secure a ceasefire throughout the country and for negotiations for a political solution to start,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told TGRT Haber broadcaster, vowing Ankara would continue its efforts in the near future.

“For this reason, at the end of the month, on December 27 in Moscow, we will hold a tripartite meeting with Turkey, Russia and Iran.” Cavusoglu accused Assad of preventing the evacuation of civilians, adding that claims that opposition fighters had broken the ceasefire were “lies.”

Evacuation deal for Aleppo civilians, wounded

Meanwhile, Syrian rebel groups on Wednesday announced a new ceasefire deal that would see the evacuation of wounded people and civilians from opposition-held districts of Aleppo the following morning.

But a source close to Syria’s government denied the development, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said hostilities were ongoing. The announcement came after a previous deal to evacuate both rebels and civilians was put on hold Wednesday, with the opposition, the Syrian government, and their backers trading accusations for the agreement’s suspension.

Officials from the Nureddin al-Zinki and the hardline Ahrar al-Sham rebel groups confirmed to AFP that the truce deal had come into effect in second city Aleppo. “A ceasefire has come into effect in Aleppo after negotiations between the Russians and the Turkish Red Crescent,” said Yasser al-Youssef, a Nureddin al-Zinki political official.

“The first group of civilians and wounded people will leave at dawn on Thursday,” Youssef told AFP. He said an agreement on rebels had also been reached but did not give details on their evacuation.

But news of the deal was denied by a source close to Syria’s government, who said fighting was still ongoing across the city. “There is no agreement, the negotiations are ongoing,” the source said. And the Britain-based Observatory told AFP reported fierce shelling in Aleppo.


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