On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking in Hamburg on the sideline of OSCE meeting, announced that Syrian government forces have suspended “active military activities” against militants in eastern Aleppo to enable the withdrawal of civilians from the city. Lavrov added that it had been agreed that Russian and US military experts would meet in Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday. Lavrov also met with his US counterpart John Kerry, and later in the day held a telephone call with him. Russian Foreign Minister also said that Based on the US side’s declared readiness to facilitate the withdrawal of militants from that city, the sides agreed to look into practical details of this process.
On Wednesday, the Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides in Syria announced that Syria’s government forces have regained control over 15 districts of the city of Aleppo, retaking 70% of the city’s eastern part from militants. AP reported that the militant groups entrenched in eastern Aleppo asked the Syrian government for an immediate ceasefire, citing the need to evacuate wounded fighters as Syrian forces advanced deeper into the militant-held areas. According to the proposal, the truce is needed to facilitate the evacuation of the wounded militants to the northern part of the Aleppo province controlled by Turkey. The Syrian government rejected the proposal, insisting that the militants should leave the city. Meanwhile, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the militants are still free to leave Aleppo and that this proposal is still in force. In the meantime, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Russia is still holding talks with the Syrian opposition. On Wednesday Sergey Lavrov met his US and German counterparts, John Kerry and Frank-Walter Steinmeier respectively, in Hamburg, on the sidelines of the OSCE foreign ministers’ meeting, particularly to discuss the situation in Syria. Furthermore, on Wednesday evening, six Western nations (UK, France, Italy, Germany, USA, Canada) pushed for an immediate ceasefire in Aleppo on Wednesday.
According to Russian Defense Ministry, Syrian governmental forces have taken control of 52 percent of eastern Aleppo and are now in control of over 30 of the city’s neighborhoods. The Ministry added that the Syrian army is still successfully advancing in eastern Aleppo, seized a neighborhood occupying three square kilometers over the past 24 hours. A convoy of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria has delivered more than 150 tonnes of humanitarian aid to residents of eastern Aleppo. A sea transport has delivered a total of 280 tonnes of articles of daily necessity, including food.