BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria where thousands more civilians and rebels are expected to leave the eastern part of the city of Aleppo under a key cease-fire deal (all times local):
Russian President Vladimir Putin says that he and his Turkish counterpart are working to launch a new round of peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition — negotiations that would take place in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.
Putin, who spoke on a visit to Japan on Friday, says that Ankara had helped broker the rebel exit from Aleppo that is currently underway. He says he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are also working for an overall truce in Syria.
The Russian leader says that once the Syrian army secures control of all of Aleppo, civilians will be able to return to their homes.
It wasn’t immediately clear if western-backed Syrian opposition would accept such a location for peace talks with President Bashar Assad’s government.
Thousands more are expected to leave eastern Aleppo in the coming hours under a cease-fire deal that effectively surrendered the last rebel-held part of the city to Syrian government control. There are conflicting numbers on how many have been evacuated from Aleppo so far as part of a Turkey- and Russia-brokered cease-fire deal to transfer all still in the rebel enclave to rebel-held areas in the countryside.
The International Committee of the Red Cross says about 4,000 civilians were taken out on Thursday. Syrian state news agency says 2,300 opposition fighters and their families left Aleppo the previous night.
Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, says that more than 6,462 people, including more than 3,000 rebels and 301 wounded, have been taken out.