Turkey accuses Syria, supporters of hampering ceasefire deal: Minister

AFP , Wednesday 14 Dec 2016

Turkey on Wednesday accused the regime in Damascus and its supporters of hampering the implementation of a ceasefire deal that would allow civilians and fighters to leave Aleppo -- Syria's second city.

"We now see that the (Syrian) regime and some separate groups are trying to prevent this (agreement)," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara. "The evacuation could not take place in the full sense."

Rebel officials, Russia and Turkey confirmed on Tuesday that a ceasefire agreement had been reached for civilians and opposition fighters to evacuate from Aleppo.

If implemented, the deal would mark a major victory for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over opposition forces who rose up against him in 2011.

An AFP correspondent in Aleppo said the evacuations had been delayed by several hours after they were expected to begin at 0300 GMT.

"There's Russia here, Iran, powers backed by Iran, and of course the regime. We expect nobody should blame each other on such a humanitarian issue," the Turkish foreign minister said.

"There is an agreement that needs to be implemented," he said.

Cavusoglu said he would speak on the phone on Wednesday with Iranian and Russian counterparts, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Sergei Lavrov.

"I hope everyone will stick to (the agreement), so that the brutality and oppression come to an end," he added.

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