Friday, 16 December 2016

RT coverage from Aleppo

Evacuation of 5,000 militants with families from E. Aleppo under way – Russian General Staff



Staff of the Syrian Red Crescent stand next to buses which will be used to evacuate rebel fighters and their families from rebel-held areas of Aleppo are seen waiting on December 15, 2016. © Stringer
Staff of the Syrian Red Crescent stand next to buses which will be used to evacuate rebel fighters and their families from rebel-held areas of Aleppo are seen waiting on December 15, 2016. © Stringer / AFP

RT,
15 December, 2016

The pullout of more than 5,000 militants and their families through a humanitarian corridor has started in eastern Aleppo, the Russian General Staff said. Wounded rebels are evacuated by the Russian Reconciliation Center with International Red Cross involvement.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported later in the day that over 4,000 people were already evacuated on Thursday.

The operation to evacuate the militants and their families from eastern Aleppo was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov told foreign military attachés on Thursday.

To allow the militants leave the city, a 21km humanitarian corridor has been set up. Of those, 6km lie across Aleppo's territories controlled by government troops and the other 15km to the west of the city go through militant-held areas," he said.

Twenty passenger busses and 10 ambulances have been provided to evacuate the militants, while around 100 cars are being used by the militants themselves, he dded. 

The first column carrying militants departed from Aleppo at about 12:30 GMT and safely arrived at its destination in the Er-Rashidin neighborhood sometime later, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. There the evacuees changed vehicles and went on towards Idlib governorate.

The motorcade was being accompanied by humanitarian workers and employees of the Reconciliation Center. Ambulances were carrying injured people who could not be safely transported by other means.

Volunteers from the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations are helping with transporting injured people as part of the larger evacuation.

We expect that during the day there will be around 250 wounded and critically wounded to be evacuated. The whole operation will take some time because it will require multiple rotations, but the operation is now going as planned,”spokesperson for the ICRC in Syria, Ingy Sedky, told RT earlier.

She added that so far there were no signs that despite some media reports to the contrary the planned evacuation would be thwarted by an attack by any party.

They are safe,” she said, referring to the evacuees and humanitarian workers involved in the evacuation. “The operation is going well so far and people are starting to gather to get on the buses and ambulances in order to be evacuated.”

Mona Kurdy from the sister organization Syrian Arab Red Crescent told RT that the volunteers “are in the field, they are doing their jobs and everybody hopes that they can do exactly what they have to do.”

The Syrian government will ensure the security of all members of militant groups who are willing to leave eastern Aleppo, the Russian Reconciliation Center's statement said earlier.

The evacuation operation has been monitored by web cameras that the Russian Defense Ministry has installed along the corridors, as well as surveillance drones. 
On Wednesday morning, the Syrian army was attacked in eastern Aleppo when buses sent to evacuate the militants entered the area, violating a previously reached ceasefire agreement, the Russian Reconciliation Center said, adding that the army had repelled the attackers.


Meanwhile, Russian military engineers are working on demining the areas which were previously under the control of the insurgents. So far they have cleared 307 buildings and 30km of roads, Gen. Lt. Viktor Poznikhir, deputy chief of operations of the General Staff, reported.

They have defused 2,742 explosive objects while sweeping an area of 107 hetares,” he said, adding that work is underway on restoring basic services like water supply in the areas deemed safe for civilians. He said some 5,000 civilians have been able to return to their homes.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that up to 100,000 people, including 40,000 children, have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo.


RT in Aleppo: Locals deny reports that pro-Assad forces shot at evacuees’ buses




RT,
15 December, 2016

Locals in Aleppo refute reports in the Western media claiming that the buses evacuating the militants had been fired upon by pro-Assad forces, RT’s Lizzie Phelan reported from the scene.

Here [in Aleppo], I’ve been speaking to a local journalist and locals who have been here since dawn... They say they heard no sound of gunfire,” Phelan reported from Aleppo.

She went on to emphasize that the allegations concerning the Syrian army attacking civilians as they were leaving eastern Aleppo emerged even before the real evacuation started. The locals told RT's Lizzie Phelan that “buses entered into the opposition territory to collect the evacuees long after these allegations emerged.”

She also said that she personally saw “buses presumably filled with some of Aleppo’s last rebels leaving the city down the road to the east to the province of Idlib, which has already received thousands of militants, who surrendered in other parts of Syria specifically from the province of Damascus.”


About 15,000 still remain in the Aleppo neighborhood that was previously held by the militants, Phelan said, adding that, out of those 15,000, 4,000 are rebels and their family members that are due to be evacuated.

The Syrian Army has said that they guarantee the safe passage of these evacuees out of Aleppo. The process is being monitored by the Russian center for reconciliation.

Meanwhile, the second and the third bus and ambulance convoys have left eastern Aleppo carrying militants and their family members to one of the city’s neighborhoods, where they will be transferred to other vehicles heading for the Idlib province, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

All the buses and ambulances are being escorted by the officers of the Russian Reconciliation Center and the members of the ICRC, the ministry added.
Earlier on Thursday, Reuters reported allegations that Syrian forces opened fire on the medical convoy in eastern Aleppo, killing at least one person.

[Pro-government fighters] fired at us and at ambulance vehicles and those people opening up the road,” Reuters reported, citing an unnamed ‘spokesman for the civil defense rescue service.’


Reuters also cited an interview posted “via an online messaging service,” in which a man who said he was a civil defense worker claimed snipers were targeting people in the convoy.

Later on Thursday, spokesperson for the ICRC in Syria, Ingy Sedky, told RT that there were no signs that the planned evacuation would be disrupted by an attack by any side.

They are safe,” she said, referring to the evacuees and humanitarian workers involved in the evacuation. 

“The operation is going well so far and people are starting to gather to get on the buses and ambulances in order to be evacuated.”

A large-scale humanitarian operation is currently taking place in Aleppo. On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that up to 100,000 people, including 40,000 children, have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo.

The Syrian Army has liberated most of the neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city held by Al-Nusra Front terrorists and other militant groups over the past weeks. At present, the militants control just 2.5 square kilometers of Aleppo, according to the Russian Reconciliation Center.



When camera gone they leave people under rubble’ – Aleppo residents on Western-backed White Helmets





Western-funded activists called the ‘White Helmets’ have been making headlines, with the MSM praising them as ‘Heroes of Peace’ for their work. However, Aleppo residents recently liberated by Syrian government forces have a different opinion.

RT’s Lizzie Phelan, who is on the ground in Aleppo, spoke to some survivors that accused the anti-government activists of being “camera posers, thieves, and raiders.” One went so far as to accuse the White Helmets of intentionally killing his daughter.



The White Helmets is a Western-backed civil defense group consisting of ‘volunteers’ operating in Syria. While, officially, its mission is to render first aid to bombing victims, Syrian and Russian authorities have accused them of spreading anti-government propaganda, releasing fake news, and maintaining close ties with Islamist terrorist groups like Al-Nusra Front – some of which has been captured on camera.

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