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Russia, US in active talks on situation in Aleppo — Russian defense minister

The minister said cooperation of Russia and the US on the settlement in Syria was on the whole "concrete and well-organized"

MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. Russia and the US are engaged in active negotiations in both Amman and Geneva on the situation in Syria’s Aleppo, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Monday.

As for the situation in Aleppo, Russia is now "in a very active stage of negotiations with our American colleagues, in both Geneva and Amman, and in constant contacts with Washington," the minister told Rossiya 24 television.

"We are step-by-step approaching an alternative, I am speaking only about Aleppo now, that will help us to find some points in common and to start actually joint fight to see peace established in that territory, on that long-suffering land, and people returning to their homes," Shoigu said.

Shoigu said citing the ministry data that about 700,000 citizens were remaining in Aleppo, while the corridors opened for them to be able to leave the city were constantly mined.

"We are forced to make additional routes in the hope that they will fail to mine all of them. Our humanitarian convoys are constantly heading there with humanitarian aid," the minister went on.

"We keep restoring the destroyed pumping facilities and pipelines for water supply. Where it is impossible, we work jointly with Syrian colleagues to deliver medical aid posts, vehicles for bringing patients in and out," Shoigu said.

Moscow and Damascus launched a joint humanitarian operation in Aleppo on July 28. Several corridors were opened to let civilians and militants leave the city and to bring food, medical supplies and other essentials to the city.

The Russian General Staff later said that starting from August 11 combat operations in Aleppo would be paused for three hours a day to let humanitarian convoys enter the city.

"Concrete and well-organized" cooperation

The minister said cooperation of Russia and the US on the settlement in Syria was on the whole "concrete and well-organized".

He echoed Russia’s earlier requests to US counterparts to share the "moderate opposition’s" accurate coordinates in order to let the Russian aerospace group avoid hitting these areas, or to disclose the coordinates of militants belonging to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (both are outlawed in Russia), but the Russian military has not yet received such information.

"We then put forward a different solution. Our president and the president of the United States said, yes, let’s follow a different path. If there are those who claim they are prepared to cease fire, we may conclude separate agreements with them and remember that there are people who are ready not to lay down arms, but just for a cease fire. This whole procedure is very concrete and very well organized," Shoigu announced on Rossiya-24 a round-the-clock national news channel.

He said all proposals for joint efforts were aimed at preserving Syria’s territorial integrity, defeating terrorism and settling issues at the negotiating table. Shoigu said there are still some areas in Syria where civilians were sandwiched between terrorists’ positions.