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Putin 'seeking Syria-wide ceasefire' after levelling of Aleppo

Negotiations between Putin and Erdogan paved the way for the East Aleppo evacuation deal [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 December, 2016

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Putin, currently in Japan, has said that talks with Erdogan will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital on future steps in Syria
Russia is seeking to negotiate a nationwide ceasefire in Syria with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 
Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has been blamed for much of the carnage in Aleppo, claimed on Friday. 

During a visit to Japan, Putin addressed a press conference stating that the peace talks would take place in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, parallel to ongoing negotiations brokered through the UN in Geneva.

Evacuations of rebels and civilians from the besieged districts of east Aleppo, which began on Thursday, were made possible following talks between Russia and Turkey.

Around 4,000 people were transported out of east Aleppo on Thursday according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. As many as 50,000 are expected to follow in the coming days and will travel to rebel held destinations in Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

Putin said that once the Syrian army secures control of all of Aleppo, civilians will be 'permitted' to return home.

However, the city currently lies in ruin having been the scene of destruction and devastation not witnessed since Second World War.

Both the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its Russian backers have been accused of committing war crimes in Aleppo.

Before an evacuation deal was reached in Aleppo on Tuesday, hundreds of east Aleppo residents were killed during advances by pro-regime forces in the area, while pro-regime troops have been accused of carrying out summary executions in the area under Russian air cover.

Thousands have lost their lives in the city over the course of Syria’s now nearly six-year civil war.

Both the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its Russian backers have been accused of committing war crimes in Aleppo.

Although victory in Aleppo is the most crucial victory for Bashar al-Assad so far in Syria’s civil war, the Syrian regime only controls roughly one third of the country, and as shown by the recent retaking of Palmyra by Islamic State group militants its resources remain stretched.

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