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Turkey to set up Russia talks on Aleppo ceasefire to end ‘humanitarian tragedy’


Turkey will intensify talks with Russia and other countries for a ceasefire to end the “humanitarian tragedy” in the Syrian city of Aleppo, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.

“Today, tomorrow, every day, we will intensify our talks with Russia and other countries so we can find a solution to this humanitarian tragedy,” Cavusoglu said at a press conference with his Czech counterpart in Ankara.

“Our efforts continue in particular for civilians to be able to leave and for a ceasefire,” he said.

Asked about possible Aleppo talks with Moscow on Wednesday, Cavusoglu said Turkish officials often met with their Russian counterparts, insisting it was “not a special meeting”.

Cavusoglu also denounced the deliberate targeting of hospitals.

Last week, six western powers said hospitals and schools appeared to have been targeted in the bombardments.

“We have seen Aleppo left alone and despite promising a ceasefire, we see Aleppo then continues to be cruelly bombed… Even if everyone is quiet, Turkey will not be quiet,” he said.

Ankara has repeatedly called for Assad’s departure, accusing Damascus of massacres in Aleppo and elsewhere but its criticism of actions by Moscow, a close ally of the Syrian leader, has been noticeably muted following a recent rapprochement between the two countries.

Russia has been engaged in an air campaign over Syria since September 2015 in support of Assad, with its actions helping change the fortunes of the regime which now appears on the cusp of recapturing all of Aleppo.

Forces loyal to Assad have said the offensive in Syria’s second city is in its “final phase” after they seized more than 90 per cent of the eastern districts which had been held by the rebels since 2012.

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