After long months under jihadist control, the Russian Centre for Syrian Reconciliation said that the Syrian Army liberated parts of eastern Aleppo (with 90,000 residents). The Centre stated that 507 terrorists have already left Aleppo and laid down arms, adding that the authorities immediately granted amnesty to 484 fighters from amongst local residents. Igor Korotchenko, editor of National Defence magazine, said:
This turning point in the fight for Aleppo reflects the growing superiority of the Syrian government troops over the enemy, including Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) and the al-Nusra Front. The high morale of Assad’s army, its skilful tactics in urban fighting, and the increased competence of Syrian Amy commanders contribute to that. In addition, the terrorists face growing resistance from the local population, who don’t provide them any kind of help at all. Locals are unwilling to act as human shields for the jihadists. This turning point in the fight for Aleppo came despite no air support for the Syrian Army, in line with current moratoriums on Russian and Syrian airstrikes in a 10-kilometre (6.2 miles) radius around Aleppo. The jihadists can no longer effectively use their military supply lines, as Syrian government forces interdict them. All this paves the way for a full liberation of eastern Aleppo from the terrorists, which in turn will contribute to a large-scale political dialogue between Bashar al-Assad’s government and the moderate Syrian opposition. It’s important to reach a consensus on Syria between Russia and the new US Administration, to separate moderate opposition groups from terrorists, as well as coördinate efforts by the Russian Air Force group and the US-led coalition in Syria.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs S V Lavrov said that US Secretary of State John Kerry finally made proposals on how to move forward on the crisis in Aleppo that seem acceptable to Russia. The statement came after the two men met on the sidelines of the Mediterranean Dialogues in Rome, Italy, a conference dealing with security issues faced by countries on the Northern and Southern shores of the Mediterranean. Lavrov told reporters after they asked him if there was any progress with Washington on dissociation of the terrorists and moderate opposition in Syria:
Yesterday during our meeting in Rome, Kerry turned in American proposals in line with proposals defended for a long time by our experts.
Over recent months, Aleppo was a major battleground in Syria, with government forces, jihadists, and numerous opposition groups engaged. Encircled by government forces, militants hold Eastern Aleppo, and the fighting affects thousands of civilians still trapped in the city. According to Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien, between 200,000 and 300,000 civilians are still in the terrorist-held eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo.
4 December 2016