Aleppo Liberation: Putin and Assad Talk to End Syrian Crisis

President of Russia Vladimir Putin
President of Russia Vladimir Putin

President of Russia Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad last week and congratulated him on the completion of the operation to liberate Aleppo.

“This success became possible thanks to the common effort of all those who joined in the fight against international terrorism in Syria,” Putin said.

He stressed that the main task now is to focus on furthering the peace process, in particular by signing an agreement on comprehensive resolution of the Syrian crisis.

Meanwhile, a senior United Nations (UN) official has underlined the enormity of challenges to continue humanitarian operations in the Syrian region.

[ Trump Praises Putin’s Comments on Hillary Clinton. “So true!” ]

“The evacuation of the eastern districts of Aleppo may have concluded but the situation in Syria remains catastrophic,” the Director of Operations at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), John Ging, informed the 15-member Security Council.

Overall, more than 35,000 people were evacuated from the remaining besieged, opposition-held areas of eastern districts of Aleppo, including some 20,000 since the Security Council adopted a resolution approving UN monitors for the evacuations.

[ Evacuations Begin in the Troubled Syrian City of Aleppo ]

A total of 308 buses, 61 ambulances and 1,231 private vehicles were used in the process, crossing numerous checkpoints from the besieged areas through the western part of the city and into western rural Aleppo, and onwards to the north-western city of Idlib.

In parallel, an estimated 1,300 people were evacuated from the besieged villages of Foah and Kefrayeh in the governorate of Idlib.

Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has voted to establish an independent panel to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity in Syria.

In a resolution adopted by a recorded vote of 105 in favour and 15 against, with 52 abstentions, the Assembly – the universal body comprising all 193 UN Members States – decided to set up a new group.

It will be called the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Those Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in [Syria] since March 2011, under the auspices of the UN.

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Rakesh Raman