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Russia closely watching situation around Aleppo — Putin

April 14, 2016, 12:48 UTC+3

The Russian side will do its best in order to prevent the "worsening" of the situation there

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. Russia is closely watching the situation around the Syrian city of Aleppo and will make everything possible to prevent the "worsening" of the situation there, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday in an annual televised Q&A session officially known as "The Direct Line with Vladimir Putin."

"The problem is that the situation around Aleppo is difficult," he said, answering a question about when the city may be liberated from terrorists. Putin said that it is "a strategically important area, actually, the country’s industrial capital," and in that area the so-called "armed opposition is present along with Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia terrorist organization)." "It’s difficult to divide them, they act differently," the president said.

According to him, at present the groups fighting in Aleppo "are making attempts to improve their posture," while the Syrian government troops "do not need to improve their positions." He added that first of all the Kurdish formations, not the Syrian army, are fighting in that area.

"We are closely watching this and will do everything to prevent the worsening of the situation," Putin said.

Peace in Syria will come as result of political process

Peace in Syria will come as a result not of military actions but of peace talks, the Russian president went on to say.

"We hope that reconciliation of armed forces will not lead to appeasement, but political process will. They should reach an agreement, sit down at the negotiations table, adopt a constitution, hold election on the basis of this constitution and thus overcome the crisis," Putin said.

The Russian president noted that though Russia withdrew the main part of the aviation task force from Syria, "we left the Syrian army in such condition that it is capable of carrying out offensive operations with support of remaining forces." "After the withdrawal of our forces, [Syrian army] liberated Palmyra," Putin reminded.

Moreover, "the number of settlements that joined ceasefire has grown," he concluded.

The Kremlin press service released a statement on March 14 that the Russian and Syrian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad, agreed to start withdrawing the main part of the Russian aviation task force from Syria because the Russian Aerospace Forces had fulfilled the fundamental tasks which had been assigned to them. Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces started delivering strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both banned in Russia) on September 30, 2015.

Russia left an air flight control center in the Syrian territory that will monitor the observation of the Syrian ceasefire, the Kremlin said. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered starting the Russian troops’ withdrawal as of March 15. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov said earlier that Russian forces will continue delivering airstrikes at terrorists in Syria.

The ceasefire between government forces and armed opposition took effect in Syria at 00:00 Damascus Time on February 27. An hour before the agreement entered into force, UN Security Council adopted a resolution in support of cessation of hostilities in Syria.

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