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Russia defense minister focus on Aleppo in phone talks with Syrian, Iranian counterparts

December 17, 2016, 18:01 UTC+3

The defense officials "discussed the ways to get military and humanitarian situations back to normal there and also to create conditions for a cessation of hostilities within Syria"

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MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has had phone conversations with his Syrian and Iranian counterparts, Fahd Jassem al-Freij and Hossein Dehghan, and also with Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkish National Intelligence Agency, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

"The talks included an exchange of opinions on the situation in Aleppo," the statement said. The defense officials "discussed the ways to get military and humanitarian situations back to normal there and also to create conditions for a cessation of hostilities within Syria."

Earlier in the day, spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry Major General Igor Konashenkov said that the finalized operation of the Russian reconciliation center to evacuate safely from Aleppo the militants with families was unique not only in saving lives of almost 10,000 Syrians. This operation opened a new window of opportunities for a ceasefire regime not only in the Aleppo Province, but also in Syria’s other regions, he said, pointing out that this operation demonstrated - for further moving forward in the Syrian reconciliation it was necessary to reach agreements with all parties to the conflict "on the ground," though with the exception for terrorist groups.

In the phone conversation with Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu offered his condolences over Saturday’s terrorist attack in the Turkish city of Kayseri. The blast hit the city at 8.45 local time (5.45 GMT) near the entrance to Erciyes University, seven kilometers of the city center. A suicide bomber carried out the attack by ramming his car into a bus and blowing himself up. The bus was carrying off-duty soldiers who were heading to Kayseri’s center.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK banned in the country) could have staged the attack.

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