Russia agrees to ISIS/Al-Nusra retreat from Aleppo

Russia agrees to ISIS/Al-Nusra retreat from Aleppo
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pose for a photo before a Middle East Quartet Principals Meeting during 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has agreed to support a proposal which would allow Al-Nusra Front/ISIS fighters to exit Aleppo with their weapons, and fall back to the jihadist stronghold of Idlib, Syria. 

  • Lavrov: Once the jihadists exit the war-ravaged city, Syrian government troops and the opposition will be able to form joint law-and-order bodies.
  • “In the first place, those who don’t leave with ‘Nusra’ should clearly separate themselves [from it], on paper, officially sign such a commitment.”
  • “Maybe then the government law enforcers and this armed opposition will be able to form some kind of joint law-and-order bodies to ensure normal life, so that people would feel safe.”
  • UN Syrian envoy, Staffan de Mistura: East Aleppo might be destroyed within two months if the military action in the city continues.
  • “If you [Al-Nusra] did decide to leave, in dignity with your weapons, to Idlib or anywhere you wanted to go, I personally am ready, physically ready, to accompany you.”
  • Lavrov: According to the UN estimations there are between six and eight thousand militants in Aleppo.
  • “Among them up to half, that what Mistura said in the UN Security Council [are from] ‘Jabhat Al-Nusra.”
  • If Al-Nusra exits Aleppo and moves to Idlib, where its major forces are located, Russia “will be ready to call on the Syrian Government to agree with that.”
  • If existing difficulties will be resolved “that exactly may become the core of the UNSC [UN Security Council] decision on how to deal with the situation in Aleppo right now.”

(WASHINGTON, DC) Russia is ready to urge the Syrian government to let Al-Nusra Front militants exit Aleppo with their weapons, as proposed by the UN envoy to Syria, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.

Once the jihadists exit the war-ravaged city, Syrian government troops and the opposition will be able to form joint law-and-order bodies, Russia’s top diplomat said, as cited by RIA Novosti.

“In the first place, those who don’t leave with ‘Nusra’ should clearly separate themselves [from it], on paper, officially sign such a commitment,” Lavrov said.

“Maybe then the government law enforcers and this armed opposition will be able to form some kind of joint law-and-order bodies to ensure normal life, so that people would feel safe,” he continued.

On Thursday, the UN’s envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, warned that East Aleppo might be destroyed within two months if the military action in the city continues. He also urged Al-Nusra to leave the city, saying that he is willing to personally escort them out.

“If you [Al-Nusra] did decide to leave, in dignity with your weapons, to Idlib or anywhere you wanted to go, I personally am ready, physically ready, to accompany you,” he said.

Lavrov noted that according to the UN estimations there are between six and eight thousand militants in Aleppo.

“Among them up to half, that what Mistura said in the UN Security Council [are from] ‘Jabhat Al-Nusra,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

If Al-Nusra exits Aleppo and moves to Idlib, where its major forces are located, Russia “will be ready to call on the Syrian Government to agree with that,” Lavrov added.

He noted that de Mistura’s proposal on Al-Nusra Front may lay ground to a respective decision by the UN Security Council (UNSC). If existing difficulties will be resolved “that exactly may become the core of the UNSC decision on how to deal with the situation in Aleppo right now.”

However any such move would be meaningless unless the moderate opposition forces separate themselves from the Al-Nusra Front jihadists.

On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Russia to end what she described as “atrocious” violence in Aleppo, citing Moscow’s influence on the Syrian government. Similar calls have been made by the government spokesperson, Steffen Seibert.

“We believe that Russia and Iran in particular are obligated to use their influence on the Assad regime to halt the escalation in violence and the suffering of the civilian population,” Seibert said.

Syrian jets, backed by Russian Airforce, are targeting militants in East Aleppo after jihadists there repeatedly violated the cessation of hostilities, according to Moscow and Damascus.

On Thursday, Lavrov said that Russia wants to resolve the Aleppo deadlock via “all means available.” He also stressed that in terms of humanitarian aid deliveries Moscow “does not divide Aleppo into parts, controlled by government and militants.”

During an interview with Denmark’s TV 2 channel, Syrian President Bashar Assad said he wants to completely liberate Aleppo from militants, however in doing so “deals” and “amnesties” should play a key part.

He nevertheless stressed that the assumption that there is “moderate” opposition does not reflect the truth. Instead the Syrian leader called such forces “a myth.” 

If this deal goes through, escalations between the West and Russia may be alleviated for the near future.

 This article was contributed by RT

Please contact TRUNEWS correspondent Edward Szall with any news tips related to this story.
Email: Edward.Szall@trunews.com | Twitter: @EdwardSzall | Facebook: Ed Szall 
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