FM says Moscow, Ankara have similar views on Syrian settlement
Turkish foreign minister notes the two countries plan to cooperate in
the military sphere
10 August, 2016
ANKARA, August 10. /TASS/. Turkey and Russia have common views on political settlement in Syria, including issues of observing ceasefire and delivering humanitarian aid, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.
"We (with Russia) have similar views on the ceasefire in Syria, humanitarian aid and political settlement," Anadolu Agency quoted Cavusoglu as saying.
Moscow and Ankara "are building mechanisms of close cooperation on Syria settlement," he dded
"We already have established mechanisms on Syria with Russia, between the militaries, foreign ministries and intelligence services. Representatives of these structures will come to Russia today and hold talks," Cavusoglu said. He noted that the two countries plan to establish "a more effective mechanism in the future and maintain contacts at a higher level."
The Turkish foreign minister noted that the two countries also plan to cooperate in the military sphere, as well as in intelligence and diplomacy.
However, Cavusoglu noted that "there may be some disagreements" on whether Syrian President Bashar Assad should stay in power. "Instead of criticizing each other on this matter, we should search for possibilities to bring close our dialogue on current issues. We will contribute to resolving Syria’s problems. It is necessary to achieve observance of ceasefire in Syria immediately," he concluded.
On Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan met for the first time today after Turkish Air Force downed a Su-24 bomber that took part in the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces’ counter-terrorist operation in Syria on 24 November 2015.
Russia demanded apologies, a compensation and to punish those guilty. Moscow severed contacts with Ankara until Turkey agreed to fulfill the demands. In July, Erdogan wrote a letter to Putin apologizing for the incident.
Russia’s General Staff: About 7,000 militants amassed on Aleppo approaches
According to the Russian general, militants are pulling in additional forces from their controlled areas in the provinces of Idlib, Homs and Hama
10 August, 2016
MOSCOW, August 10. /TASS/. Terrorists have concentrated about 7,000 fighters on the south-western approaches to the Syrian city of Aleppo together with armored vehicles and artillery, Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Sergei Rudskoi said on Wednesday.
Turkish FM says Moscow, Ankara have similar views on Syrian settlement
"The most alarming situation has developed on the south-western approaches to Aleppo where terrorists have created a grouping of about 7,000 gunmen over the week with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, artillery and vehicles with armament mounted on them," he said.
This grouping continues to be replenished through terrorists’ reserves, he added.
"The militants are pulling in additional forces from their controlled areas in the provinces of Idlib, Homs and Hama," the Russian general said.
The Russian general noted that situation around the Syrian city of Aleppo remains highly complicated as the militants continue attacking the government forces.
"In spite of the efforts to maintain ceasefire, the situation around Aleppo remains highly complicated," he said. "Jabhat al-Nousra militants who are calling themselves Jabhat Fatah al-Sham now and units of the so-called moderate opposition that have joined them continue attacks on government forces in to the north and south of Aleppo."
These attacks are undertaken in order to deliver weaponry and munitions, including explosives, to the city.
According to Rudskoi, militants have lost more than 1,000 fighters to the southwest of the Syrian city of Aleppo over the past 4 days; about 2,000 insurgents have been injured.
"Terrorists are suffering severe losses. More than 1,000 militants have been killed to the southwest of Aleppo over the past 4 days. About 2,000 militants have been wounded. Seven tanks, 8 infantry combat vehicles; 29 guns and mortar launchers and 85 trucks with large-caliber weapons have been destroyed," Rudskoi said.
He added that the Syrian government troops backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces had focused their efforts on thwart terrorists’ attempts to throw over fresh reserves to Aleppo’s southwestern outskirt," Rudskoi added. According to him, strikes are being delivered at places of concentration of militant forces, armored vehicles, artillery positions and convoys delivering weapons and ammunition.
As reported earlier, on Saturday, August 6, the Syrian troops retreated from the battle positions on the compound of military schools in Aleppo. Along with it, they managed to disrupt delivery of armaments and redeployment of rebel reinforcements to the eastern part of the city, which is encircled by government troops.
On Monday, August 9, the military once again cut off the enemy’s access to the corridor leading to the eastern districts of Aleppo.
Several armed detachments of militants have left Aleppo through a special corridor, Rudskoy said.
"A supplementary humanitarian corridor for the armed militants' withdrawal located near Castello Road continues operating," he said. "I'd like to emphasize that several armed groups that have recognized the unpromising character of further combat actions have left the eastern part of the city through this corridor taking the armaments away with them."
Humanitarian operation in Aleppo
The humanitarian operation in Aleppo continues, all humanitarian corridors in the city are open around the clock, the Russian general said.
"The humanitarian operation launched together with the Syrian authorities to provide assistance to civilians in Aleppo continues. All seven humanitarian corridors that have been set up for civilians leaving the city and gunmen willing to lay down arms are open and work around the clock," he said.
Ambulance cars are on duty near these corridors, field kitchens have been deployed, there are supplies of drinking water and food, Rudskoi said.
"To date, the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties has delivered more than 50 tons of food, basic necessities and medications as well as 93 tons of bottled water to the city of Aleppo," he dded.
Almost 50 organizations have supported the Russian Defense Ministry's initiative of rendering humanitarian aid to the residents of Syria's city of Aleppo, the Russian general said.
"As of now, the National Defense Management Centre of the Russian Federation through its hotline and the Defense Ministry through its website have already received messages with confirmed intention from 47 various organizations to take part in rendering humanitarian aid to the Aleppo residents," he said.
China and Serbia expressed support to the Russian initiative for the rendering of Humanitarian operation in Aleppo, Rudskoi reaffirmed.
All military hostilities in Aleppo will stop for three hours every day as of August 11 to allow humanitarian convoys into the Syrian city, Sergei Rudskoi added.
"As of tomorrow, humanitarian aid ‘windows’ will open from 10am to 1pm local time to guarantee the safe passage of relief convoys into Aleppo. All military hostilities, aviation and artillery strikes will be halted during that time," Rudskoi said.
Rudskoi also noted that Russian military experts would continue discussing the relief operation in Aleppo with the United Nations and the United States.
"We are ready for a constructive dialogue with all the sides interested in settling the Syrian crisis. We support the proposals by the UN to establish joint control over the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population of Aleppo along the Castello road," Rudskoi said.
Moscow and Damascus launched a joint humanitarian operation in Aleppo on July 28. Several corridors were set up for civilians and gunmen leaving the city. Food, medicines and staple commodities are delivered to Aleppo.
A separate corridor was meant for the armed groups willing to leave the city who are not going to lay down arms. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu earlier explained that this step stemmed from the fact that Russia received no data from the US on drawing the line between the Jabhat al-Nusra group (outlawed in Russia) and the Free Syrian Army.
Supplies enter west Aleppo through the Castello highway
A convoy of 40 trucks consisting of food supplies entered the government-held districts of Aleppo through the Castello highway north of the city.
The government was forced to adopt the new makeshift route to supply the 1.5 million civilians living in the large city following recent jihadist advances that rendered the primary Ramousah supply route inoperable.
Nusra commander defects to ISIS with his battalion
The leader of Jabhat Al Nusra’s, now Jabhat Fath Al-Sham, Barraq Battalions defected from the Al-Qaeda affiliated terror group and joined the notorious ISIS group.
He was based in the troubled Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp that was once a very prosperous district in Damascus. Notably, violent battles took place between the two internationally-recognized terror groups a few months ago.
ISIS may now look to attack the government positions near the city center of Damascus or the rebel positions of Jaish Al-Islam in the nearby Yalda.