‘Aleppo deal violated as terrorists take hostages, heavy arms, attack crossing’ – Syrian envoy to UN

After nearly 9,500 people were evacuated from eastern Aleppo, radical groups violated the agreement by taking hostages, the remains of Syrian Army troops, and prohibited weapons with them, Syria’s Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, told RT.

“More than 9,449 terrorists [and members of their families] have evacuated from the eastern part of the city, due to the agreement made for this purpose and thanks to Russian mediation,” Jaafari stated.

He then explained why the evacuation stopped amid reports the Syrian Army blamed the militants for violating the evacuation deal.

“Unfortunately, the agreement was violated today by the terrorist groups who took hostages with them and corpses of Syrian Army martyrs while they were exiting the city,” Jaafari said. “[They also] were transferring medium-caliber weapons after dismantling them in violation [of the] agreement.”

The agreement “does not allow them to take with them any prisoners, any hostages, and any corpses of Syrian Army soldiers killed by them – but they did,” he explained, also adding that only light weapons were supposed to be taken out of the militant-occupied areas, but not the heavier arms.

Jaafari estimated that a “couple thousand” of militants that refused to exit the city altogether comprise of “the most radical elements.” He claimed that those belonged to groups “working for Turkish intelligence.”

Conflicting reports arose on the situation at the eastern Aleppo crossing where buses have been evacuating the militants. RT’s Lizzie Phelan reported that some clashes have taken place.

Moreover, he said that the militants “filmed, took shots of this firing and attributed it to the Syrian Army hitting the civilians as they claimed.”

Jaafari believes the incident was part of the coordinated media campaign, calling out “fake names” on social media, alluding to the activists that recently claimed there were mass war crimes carried out by Syrian government forces in Aleppo in video messages on Twitter or Facebook. Some of those activists have gained live mainstream media access in the West and on channels like Al Jazeera to voice their accusations.

“We are here in front of hysterical manipulation and distortion of facts covered up by the western media and the so-called social media network,” Jaafari said.

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The Russian Defense Ministry reported Friday that the liberation of eastern Aleppo was completed after the Russian Center for Reconciliation evacuated all militants and members of their families, including women and children, who were willing to leave the city. He noted that only radicals and “irreconcilable gangs” who kept fighting the Syrian troops are still holding out in Aleppo. The Syrian forces are currently trying to clear out these “isolated pockets of militant resistance,” the Russian Centre for Reconciliation reported.

The evacuation corridor leads from the Salaheddin neighborhood to the Er-Rashidin-4 district on the western edge of Aleppo, from which the majority of the militants would head to the rebel-held Idlib province. The withdrawal has been supervised by the International Committee of the Red Cross and its sister branch, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.