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Syrian armed forces advancing and surrounding all terrorist gangs in Aleppo
(SANA, 28 July 2016) ~ Syrian Army units, backed by supporting units, re-established full control over Bani Zaid neighborhood in Aleppo, adding that the army engineering units dismantled the explosives and mines from its streets and squares, a military source announced Thursday.
The Syrian army established control over Efrin bus station, youth housing and all the building blocks and factories in al-Liramoun in the northern outskirts of Aleppo.
The military operations command in Aleppo, in coordination with Aleppo Governor and Police Command, will adopt the necessary procedures to deliver the factories which the Syrian army has controlled in al-Liramoun area to their owners.
The Syrian army units continued pursuing the terrorists who fled from the neighborhood, asserting that scores of terrorists turned themselves in and gave up their weapons to the authorities in order to have their situation settled.
Terrorist organizations acknowledged on their social media pages the death of Ammar Shaaban, the so called the military leader of “Nour al-Din al-Zinki” movement in Handarat to the northeast of Aleppo.
Russia & Syria launch large-scale humanitarian operation for Aleppo residents
(RT, 28/7/2016) ~ Russia and Syria are launching a large-scale humanitarian operation for Aleppo residents, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. Corridors for civilians and militants ready to lay down arms will be created to exit the city, which was Syria’s largest before the war.
“We have repeatedly called on the warring parties to reconcile, but the militants violated the silence mode each time, shelled villages, attacked the positions of government troops. As a result, a tough humanitarian situation has developed in the city of Aleppo and its suburbs,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Thursday.
“To assist civilians taken hostage by terrorists, as well as militants who chose to lay down their weapons, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties, together with Syrian authorities, will open three humanitarian corridors there,” Shoigu added.
“I want to emphasize that we are taking this step, first and foremost, to ensure the safety of Aleppo residents,” the minister said. He has also urged international organizations to take part in the humanitarian operation in Aleppo.
According to the minister, the fourth corridor for the passage of fighters in Aleppo is being set up only because the US has not provided Russia with data on the al-Nusra Front terrorist group, which has recently been attempting to merge with other armed opposition groups in Syria.
Russia is still expecting to receive data on the whereabouts of the moderate opposition in Syria, Shoigu noted.
Geopolitical analyst Patrick Henningsen told RT last month that he believes Washington is not doing enough to convince so-called “moderate” rebel groups to part ways with terrorists.
By designating militants who share the same areas and positions as terrorists “moderate opposition,” the US is providing terrorists with a safe haven, Henningsen noted. He said that terror groups are benefiting from such neighborly relations in the same way they make use of civilians.
“The classification of moderate rebels is a type of human shield,” he said, adding that the lack of a clear signal from Washington to the rebel groups is the result of a deliberate strategic choice made by the US government, which wants the military conflict to drag on.
Some armed militant groups surrounded by the government army in Aleppo have declared readiness to lay down arms, a source told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
“Following a statement by the Syrian president [Bashar Assad] on amnesty [for surrendering militants], a number of militants have already expressed their willingness to lay down arms. I assume that in the coming days, the number of those wishing to follow [their example] will increase dramatically,” a source told the agency.
“Today as never before, joint action is needed in the fight against terror. Russia is ready for this, without any preconditions, and calls on everyone to unite,” Shoigu said.
“If we do not want a repeat of the Iraqi, Libyan, and Afghan scenario – the consequences of which have disentangled the world for quite a while – we offer our partners to unite, and instead of resorting to accusatory rhetoric, to focus on the implementation of the agreements reached in Moscow and Geneva last week,” the minister added.
At the request of US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian experts have been sent to Geneva to work out joint steps designed to stabilize the situation in Aleppo, Shoigu said.
He stressed that “concrete joint action to destroy terrorism” is very much needed, adding that there should be no preconditions for talks.
“The Russian Defense Ministry is ready for such work,” Shoigu noted.
Earlier this month, Russia and the US agreed on “concrete steps” to ensure a long-term ceasefire in Syria and fight their common enemies, al-Nusra Front and Islamic State.
“We believe that those who remain in the positions occupied by [IS and al-Nusra Front] terrorists, despite numerous months of calls to leave [the areas], don’t differ much from terrorists,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after meeting with Kerry in Moscow.
When asked whether battling al-Nusra could harm anti-Assad forces, Lavrov pointed to Afghanistan and Libya, where getting involved with extremist forces brought nothing but chaos.
“They thought that the Mujahideen would inflict maximum damage on the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and then they could be ‘tamed.’ But ‘taming’ did not work. Al-Qaeda, which was born from the Mujahideen, attacked New York on September 11, 2001…”
Aleppo residents begin escape
from besieged neighborhoods via safe passage
(RT, 28/7/2016) ~ The first group of residents trapped in eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city before the civil war, have begun their escape through a humanitarian corridor created with Russia’s help, Al Mayadeen TV has reported.
Leaflets with directions to the four safe passages out of the areas under siege have been distributed around the neighborhoods.
“To avoid unintended casualties among peaceful citizens, the Syrian government is asking you to leave the blocked areas. The Aleppo governor gives you an opportunity to exit through the routes specified in the scheme. Save your life and the lives of your loved ones,” reads a leaflet obtained by RT.
Those fleeing Aleppo are advised to raise their hands with the leaflet while approaching checkpoints, to move slowly and to follow the commands of the Syrian military. Once near checkpoints, they will be required to turn around to demonstrate they do not have explosives on them.
Aleppo governor Mohammad Marwan Olabi said makeshift centers equipped with medical services are ready to take the refugees, SANA reported.
On Thursday, Russia and Syria launched a large-scale humanitarian operation for Aleppo residents, opening three humanitarian corridors for civilians and one for the passage of fighters.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu noted that the fourth corridor has been set up because the US failed to provide Russia with data on Al-Nusra Front terrorist group, which has recently been attempting to merge with other armed opposition groups in Syria. Moscow is still expecting to receive data on the whereabouts of the moderate opposition in Syria, Shoigu noted.
“In the past two hours more than 25 gunmen have turned themselves in with weapons, others have decided to flee the area, leaving behind their heavy weaponry,” Syrian journalist Alaa Ebrahim told RT, citing a source in the Syrian Army.
On Thursday, Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a decree granting amnesty to all militants that surrender. This prompted “scores of terrorists” to turn themselves in and lay down their arms, a source told SANA.
Despite the increasing number of settlements adhering to the Russia-US brokered ceasefire regime, which came into force on February 27, not all the groups claiming to belong to the “moderate” opposition are observing the truce. In June, militants from an Al-Qaeda-linked group, Jaysh al-Islam, shelled a UN humanitarian convoy near Damascus, according to reports from the Russian Defense Ministry.
At the request of US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian experts have been sent to Geneva to work out joint steps designed to stabilize the situation in Aleppo. To avoid a repeat of the disastrous Iraqi, Libyan, and Afghan scenario, Moscow offered to unite with its partners in the fight against terrorism, the Russian defense minister said.
UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has also called on Russia and the US to team up in an effort to curb the fighting in Syria.
“We are all awaiting and urging the two co-chairs – which means Russia and the US – to expedite their own discussions on how to reduce violence,” Mistura said in comments on the Geneva talks.
He said it would be premature to comment on Syria and Russia’s announcements of an aid plan for civilians besieged in eastern Aleppo and an amnesty for surrendering fighters there, which he said the United Nations, “like everyone else,” was not consulted on beforehand. The situation in Aleppo was extremely serious, with only two to three weeks of supplies left, he said.
President al-Assad calls on Syrian people to stand with Syrian Army, granting amnesty for those who lay down arms and turn themselves in to authorities
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