Syria rejects idea of rebel autonomy in eastern Aleppo

Damascus, Nov 21 (IANS) Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Sunday that his government rejected an idea proposed by the UN special envoy to Syria about an autonomy for the rebels in the eastern part of the northern city of Aleppo.

The idea of establishing an autonomy for the rebels in eastern Aleppo is completely rejected, al-Moallem said in a press conference, following his meeting with the visiting UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, who arrived in Damascus earlier on Sunday to discuss his plan.

The top Syrian diplomat said that he had a discussion with Mistura, noting, however, that he did not sense a desire from the envoy for the resumption of the inter-Syrian dialogue, Xinhua reported.

Al-Moallem added that Mistura said he had no guarantees that the rebels would respect a cease-fire in Aleppo.

This comes as the situation in Aleppo is flaring in a circle of violence, with the international efforts being focused on convincing the Syrian government to bring its attack on the rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo to a halt and break a siege on that area.

At the conference, the minister made it clear that the rebels must evacuate eastern Aleppo so that the government institutions could return to that part of the city.

“It makes no sense that the fate of 275,000 civilians in eastern Aleppo be a hostage for six or seven thousands rebels,” the minister said.

Regarding the evacuation of the wounded and sick from eastern Aleppo, the minister said that the Syrian government had offered three previous chances, which ended without any response form the other side.

–IANS

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