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Aleppo evacuations not over, says Turkish foreign minister

Turkey on Friday claimed that the evacuation of rebels and their families from the eastern sector of Syria’s Aleppo was not finished, a claim echoed by a Syrian military source.

“The evacuations are not over and many people still want to leave the area,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a press conference in Ankara.

The evacuation of the last rebel-held pocket of territory in Aleppo has been “suspended” but is not over, a Syrian military source told AFP on Friday. The source said there had been a “suspension” of the operations but that “they are not finished”.

The statements contradict claims made by the Russian defence ministry which said that the operation was “complete”.

Russia’s defence ministry on Friday also announced it had finished evacuating rebels and their family members from Syria’s Aleppo, with only “radical and intransigent” militants left inside.

“The (Russian) operation… to evacuate rebels and members of their families from eastern districts of Aleppo is complete,” it said in a statement.

It claimed that “all of the women and children have been moved from the rebel-controlled neighbourhoods”.

“According to those evacuated in the last convoy, everyone who wanted to leave eastern Aleppo districts over the past day has left,” it said, adding that a total of 4,500 rebels and 337 injured have been moved out of Aleppo.

“Militant groups of radical and intransigent gangs who are shooting at Syrian troops are left in some neighbourhoods” it said, adding that the Syrian army “continue to liberate various Aleppo neighbourhoods where radicals are located”.

Late Thursday the UN peace envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said around 50,000 people, the majority civilians, were still trapped in eastern Aleppo.

“There are 50,000 people, including 40,000 civilians unfortunate enough to live in that part of the city. The rest are fighters, numbering between 1,500 and 5,000, and their families,” he told reporters in Paris, alongside France’s Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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