Putin, Rouhani welcome Aleppo 'victory'

AFP , Sunday 25 Dec 2016

Syrian pro-government fighters in the city of Aleppo. (File Photo: AFP)

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin welcomed the "Syrian army's victory against the terrorists in Aleppo" during a late-night phone call, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

"The Syrian army's victory sends a message that the terrorists cannot achieve their objectives. We must stop terrorists using the ceasefire to rebuild their forces and create new bases in other regions of Syria," Rouhani said following the call on Saturday night, according to a statement published by state media.

Putin also welcomed the defeat of rebel forces in Syria's second city and said cooperation between Tehran and Moscow "will continue".

They said peace talks would take place in Kazakhstan, without providing further details.

Iran and Russia have been the key backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and label all rebel forces in the country as "terrorists".

"The result of this cooperation is a major victory in the fight against international terrorism," added Putin.

Syrian troops this week retook control of eastern Aleppo, which has been held by disparate rebel groups since mid-2012, after a devastating month-long offensive that has caused tens of thousands of refugees to flee their homes.

Russia's entry into the conflict in September 2015 -- primarily through air strikes -- helped turn the tide for Assad, while Iran has provided military advisors and frontline "volunteer" fighters.

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