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Russia hopes evacuation from eastern Aleppo to end in one-two days

"Evacuation continues. We hope it is a matter of one or two days maximum," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said

/MOSCOW, December 20./TASS/. Russia hopes that evacuation from eastern Aleppo will be completed in one or two days, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after meeting with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Javad Zarif.

"We (Russia, Iran and Turkey) have tried to work in broader formats, on a collective basis, but an appalling situation facing residents of eastern Aleppo, a need to reduce the number of possible casualties, along with a need to free Aleppo from militants - all this has prevented us from taking the wait-and-see stance," he said.

"Over the recent days, active work has continued in our capitals to work through a possibility to use levers that each of our countries has on those parties that oppose each other in Syria, to settle the crisis in eastern Aleppo," the minister said.

"These intensive discussions have resulted in today’s meeting and passing of a document (a joint statement of the foreign ministers)," he said.

According to Lavrov, the parties were not only preparing for passing the document, but have been practically taking over the past few days "coordinated measures, that have made it possible to peacefully evacuate the overwhelming part of civilians from eastern Aleppo with contribution of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization.

"Our agreements on how to influence the warrying parties concretely have played a role in it," Lavrov said.

He said that apart from evacuation of civilians, cooperation of the three countries "has made it possible to ensure an organized withdrawal of the overwhelming majority of armed opposition militants from eastern Aleppo in coordinated directions and to coordinated sites".

"Evacuation continues. We hope it is a matter of one or two days maximum," he said.

"Maybe this, among other things, manifests the efficiency of the format that has been formed from the states that at the moment are possibly more ready to contribute to the settlement of the Syrian crisis through real deeds, and not just words," the top Russian diplomat said.