The fighting in eastern Aleppo has stopped and the Syrian government has regained control over the territory after the withdrawal of militants from the city was agreed, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin told the UN Security Council meeting in New York.
“The latest information that we have received during the past hour or so is that military operations in eastern Aleppo have concluded,” Churkin said.
“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.
Ahead of the emergency UN Security Council meeting, the Russian envoy told reporters that the “latest information is that they indeed have an arrangement achieved on the ground that the fighters are going to leave the city.” Churkin said Tuesday ahead of the emergency UN Security Council meeting in New York.
According to Churkin, the militants, who have been holed up in eastern Aleppo for years, are scheduled to leave the city “within hours.”
The envoy added that the withdrawal of militant fighters will put the city under the control of the Syrian government and there will be no need for eastern Aleppo residents to leave their homes.
During his speech at the meeting, Churkin told the UNSC members that the “counterterrorist operation in Aleppo will conclude in the next few hours.” The fighters are currently leaving the city through corridors that they chose themselves, including ones leading to Syria’s Idlib province, Churkin stressed.
“The counter-terrorist operation in Aleppo will be completed within a few hours. 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 envoy said.
An official with one of the militant groups in Aleppo earlier told Reuters that an agreement had been reached with Russia on Tuesday, while another rebel representative reported, “There are signs of a breakthrough in the coming hours.”
However, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies to “urgently allow the remaining civilians to escape” Aleppo and facilitate humanitarian aid access to the city.
“In recent days and hours, we appear to be witnessing nothing less than an all-out effort by the Syrian government and its allies to end the country’s internal conflict through a total, uncompromising military victory,” Ban told the UN Security Council.
Aleppo has been divided between the government forces and the militants since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011.
However, in recent weeks, the Syrian Army has made significant gains in eastern Aleppo and is close to liberating it from the militants.
The successful offensive allowed thousands of people to flee the area and receive humanitarian assistance from the Russian and Syrian military.