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International Efforts to Save Truce in Aleppo | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrian civil defense volunteers could be seen carrying children from the debris after air strikes in the rebel-held Aleppo town (Reuters)

Ankara – International efforts intensified on Wednesday to save the agreed truce in eastern Aleppo and evacuate besieged civilians, as Iran was said to have imposed new conditions on the deal reached earlier this week.

Kremlin Spokesman Dimitri Peskov said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed Wednesday in a phone call that violations of a ceasefire deal agreed for the Syrian city of Aleppo should stop.

Turkish presidential sources said that both officials stressed that the ceasefire agreement should be put into practice and the violations of the deal must be stopped.

Turkey, Russia and Syrian rebel groups on Tuesday confirmed an agreement had been reached for civilians and opposition fighters to leave Aleppo.

However, shelling and air strikes resumed in Aleppo on Wednesday.

The Turkish sources added that during the phone call, Erdogan and Putin stressed their commitment to start the evacuation of civilians and rebels via safe corridors “as soon as possible”.

Erdogan told Putin that Ankara was ready to take all necessary measures to provide humanitarian aid and temporary housing following the opening of safe corridors, the sources added.

Addressing a group of local administrators in Ankara, Erdogan accused Syrian government forces of breaking the ceasefire in Aleppo, adding that Turkey was maintaining efforts to create a corridor to evacuate people from the Syrian city.

The Turkish president also said that preparations were complete for evacuees from Aleppo to come to Idlib in Syria and to Turkey.

The planned evacuation of rebel districts of Aleppo stalled on Wednesday as air strikes and heavy shelling hit the city.

Meanwhile, Erdogan called on the new U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday to hold an emergency meeting on Aleppo.

In a phone call, Erdogan discussed with Guterres the dire humanitarian situation in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Erdogan underlined the importance of U.N. action on the atrocities taking place in the Syrian besieged city, noting that he expected the U.N. General Assembly to hold an emergency meeting on the matter.

Earlier this week, Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that his ministry was constantly in contact with Iranian and Russian colleagues and kept discussing the situation in Syria.

Cavusoglu also held talks with Kerry and Lavrov over the truce in Aleppo.