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Russian military: No flights performed over Aleppo since start of liberation operation

June 14, 14:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Almost 70,000 civilians, including 40,000 children, have returned home since the start of the liberation operation

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© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

MOSCOW, June 14. /TASS/. Russian military jets did not approach Aleppo closer than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) since the beginning of an operation to liberate the Syrian city, chief of Russia’s center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, Vladimir Savchenko, said on Wednesday.

"Since October 18, 2016 until the end of the operation the flights of Russia’s Aerospace Forces were fully halted in the Aleppo area. Russian jets did not approach the city closer than 10 km," Savchenko said.

"Russian sappers cleared of mines 200 socially significant facilities, 3,210 buildings on the territory of more than 2,000 hectares and 709 kilometers of roads, and defused 26,000 explosive objects," Savchenko said.

On December 22, 2016 Aleppo was liberated from militants and was taken under full control of the Syrian government army. Later, a de-mining unit of the International Mine Action Center of Russia’s Armed Forces took part in the effort to clear the eastern neighborhoods of explosives.

"A total of 200 servicemen and 47 pieces of military and special equipment were involved in clearing the city of mines," the general said.

Almost 70,000 residents return home

He went on to say that almost 70,000 civilians, including 40,000 children, have returned to their homes in east Aleppo since the start of the operation for the city’s liberation.

"Electric power and water supply to residential quarters have been restored within the shortest time possible. This has allowed 16,000 families to return to their homes in the eastern districts of Aleppo. These are more than 69,000 residents, including 40,000 children," Savchenko said.

Over 6,000 militants identified

More than 6,000 militants have been identified in Aleppo since 2016, over 3,000 of them have been granted amnesty, Igor Yemelyanov, Chief of the Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Aleppo, said.

"In all, the center has identified more than 6,000 militants since 2016, 3,322 of them have been granted amnesty," he said.

According to Yemelyanov, 752 humanitarian operations have been held, with 850 tonnes of humanitarian aid distributed. He added that medical care had been provided to more than 30,000 civilians, including 19,000 children, and 16 tonnes of critical medical supplies had been delivered.

Medical assistance

More than 12,000 civilians in Syria’s Aleppo received medical assistance from Russian medical specialists between the end of 2016 and April 2017, head of the special military-medical unit of the 301st Military Clinical hospital of Russia’s Eastern Military District, Major Roman Guzeyev, told a news conference on Wednesday.

"In the period from December 2016 to April 2017, medical teams made 78 trips to refugee camps. The unit’s specialists delivered medical care to 12,840 civilians, one-third of whom were children. A total of 742 surgeries, including 492 complex, were performed," he said.

According to Guzeyev, more than 25 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies were distributed among the population. 

"The militants did not allow eastern Aleppo civilians leave the city, using them as a ‘living shield.’ The terrorists opened fire on people who entered the territory controlled by the government forces from mortars and artillery and laid mines in the exit routes," the officer said.

As he put it, most patients that needed surgery had gun-shot and blast injuries, as well as burns and purulent inflammatory complications caused by injuries.

He recalled that the special-purpose medical unit of the 301st Military Clinical Hospital of the Eastern Military District had been dispatched to Aleppo on November 29, 2016. "I want to draw your attention to the fact that pediatricians were included in the medical unit. We realized only too well that children were the most affected by the fighting group," Guzeyev noted.

During their work in Aleppo, Russian military doctors delivered medical care to 3,895 children, mainly with mine blast wounds, burns, colds and other ailments, he added.

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