Aleppo evacuation operation enters day 2

The report on Friday also said the militants tried to take with them captive they had seized and were holding in the enclave under their control.

Lebanon’s al-Manar TV said the Syrian army stopped the process because the terrorists had violated the ceasefire deal.

The Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV said buses that were parked at the Ramouseh crossing point left the area after it was targeted by gunmen.

Protesters earlier blocked a road being used to evacuate militants from Aleppo, demanding the evacuation of people from two Shia villages in Idlib province, al-Manar reported. 

They demanded that the villages, Fua’a and Kefraya which are besieged by terrorists, be included in the ceasefire deal. 

According to a Press TV correspondent, the militants on Friday prevented the residents from leaving the two villages despite an agreement apparently reached the day before.

Earlier in the day, Russia’s Defense Ministry said more than 6,400 people, including over 3,000 militants, have been transferred out of Aleppo as part of a ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey.

Turkey is one of the key supporters of militants who are facing total rout in Aleppo, and have intermingled with civilians in the face of advancing Syrian forces. 

Ankara and other supporters of the militants have used civilians to press for a ceasefire deal under which armed groups are given a free passage to leave the city and have ultimately got one.

In their bid to secure a safe passage for the militants, the West and its regional allies have gone on an unprecedented media campaign to highlight the civilian situation in the city, often with sketchy details.

On Friday, footage showed buses waiting to take more people out of Aleppo, which was recently restored to full government control. 

A young boy waves the Syrian flag as residents in a government-held area of Aleppo gather in the street during an evacuation operation on December 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

An unnamed Turkish official said close to 8,000 civilians had been evacuated from Aleppo. The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said the total number of the evacuees  included some 3,000 militants.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the evacuation operation, which started on Tuesday, could take days.

Russia seeks “nationwide” truce

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday all sides in Syria must now work toward paving the way for a “nationwide” ceasefire in Syria after the liberation of Aleppo.

Speaking at a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Putin said he had agreed with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to hold peace talks on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.

“The next step is to reach an agreement on a total ceasefire across the whole of Syria. We are conducting very active negotiations with representatives of the armed opposition, brokered by Turkey,” Putin told reporters.

The talks would be in addition to UN-brokered talks that have been taking place intermittently in Geneva, Putin told reporters.

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