Syria Calls for Peace Talks as Aleppo Attacked Again

The liberated city again came under terrorists attack while Russian military police arrive in Aleppo to help maintain security
Syria Calls for Peace Talks as Aleppo Attacked Again Syria Calls for Peace Talks as Aleppo Attacked Again
A Russian military police battalion has arrived in the newly liberated Aleppo to provide security to humanitarian aid workers and Russian sappers

As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies said the insurgents’ withdrawal from the city could pave the way toward a political solution for the country, some militants shelled Aleppo and airstrikes resumed around the city on Friday.

A day after the last militants left their remaining pocket of territory in the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights—a war monitor based in Britain—said about 10 shells fell in its southwestern al-Hamdaniya District.

The Observatory said six people, including two children, were killed. State television said at least three people died, Reuters reported.

Insurgents seeking to oust Assad have shelled government-controlled areas of Aleppo throughout the conflict, which began in 2011. The destruction in those parts of the city has been far less than in eastern districts militants held until this month.

Airstrikes resumed in militant-held areas of the countryside near Aleppo on Friday for the first time since the end of the evacuation operation.

Strikes hit to the west, southwest and south of the city, areas which had not been hit for at least a week. The observatory had no information on casualties yet.

After months of bombardment and a final few weeks of intense airstrikes and Syrian army advances on the besieged, militant-held part of Aleppo, a local ceasefire was reached on December 15, which allowed thousands of civilians and then fighters to leave.

The last left the city late on Thursday for countryside immediately to the west. The International Committee of the Red Cross said about 35,000 people, mostly civilians, had departed.

Many of those who left are living as refugees in the areas to the west and south of Aleppo, including in Idlib Province where bulldozers were used to clear heavy snowfall on Friday morning.

 Russian Military Police in Aleppo

A Russian military police battalion has arrived in the newly liberated Aleppo to provide security to humanitarian aid workers and Russian sappers who are helping Syrians rebuild their lives following five years of terrorist rule in parts of the city.

Military police of the Russian Ministry of Defense arrived at the Hmeymim air base in Latakia earlier on Friday. The troops were immediately dispatched to Aleppo where they will protect Russian sappers, medical staff and aid personnel.

 “The division has marched from the Hmeymim air base to the city of Aleppo to perform duties as part of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Russia Defense Ministry said.

Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin the deployment of the military police battalion was needed to “ensure order” in the city.

The Russian specialists are now sweeping the area for landmines, while providing humanitarian and medical aid to returning residents, and restoring basic utilities, the minister added.

After Aleppo’s liberation earlier this week, the Syrian president hoped for a new push to kick-start political negotiations.

Aleppo’s liberation “opened the door for political work in Syria” and will hopefully encourage those who earlier hampered the political settlement to join the process of national reconciliation, Assad said in a telephone conversation with Putin on Friday, SANA news agency reported.

Assad also thanked Russia and Putin for helping bring freedom to Syria’s second city.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said ceasefire violations were registered in three Syrian provinces.

“A total of 25 ceasefire violations by illegal militant groups have been registered in Damascus (17), Aleppo (6) and Hama (2) provinces,” the ministry said in its daily bulletin.


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