UNITED NATIONS – The Syrian army is in full control over Aleppo and the operation to re-take the eastern part of the city from rebels is over, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations said Tuesday.
“The latest information that we have received during the past hour or so is that military operations in eastern Aleppo have concluded,” Vitaly Churkin said during a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation in Syria’s largest city.
The Russian-backed Syrian government offensive began in mid-September.
“So, there is no issue of any ceasefire or special humanitarian operations. The Syrian government has regained control of the eastern Aleppo, so the stage of practical humanitarian actions begins,” he said.
The head of the political office of a rebel group active in eastern Aleppo confirmed that the fighting had stopped.
“The truce has already begun, the bombardments and combat have stopped and the combatants will leave tomorrow, we expect starting sometime after 5 am,” the Fastaqim Union’s Zakaria Malahifyi said from outside Syria, citing reports from comrades in Aleppo.
Churkin told journalists ahead of the Security Council session that agreement had been reached on a plan for the rebels occupying the eastern part of Aleppo to leave under a grant of safe conduct.
“All the militants along with their families and the wounded are now withdrawing through the agreed corridors in the directions they themselves have chosen, including in the direction of Idlib,” the Russian said during the Security Council meeting.
Idlib, which lies southwest of Aleppo, is under rebel control.
The leader of the opposition Free Syrian Army told EFE Tuesday that civilians will be evacuated before rebels leave Aleppo headed southward.
FSA leader Ahmed Berri said, via telephone, that a deal had been struck to allow for the evacuation.