19:41 GMT +310 December 2019
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    Syrian pro-government forces walk past damaged houses as they approach the Baeedin district in eastern Aleppo, near Masaken Hanano, which is still under rebel-control on November 23, 2016

    Half of East Aleppo Cleared of Militants, 80,000 Residents Freed - Russian MoD

    © AFP 2019 / GEORGE OURFALIAN
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    According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Syrian government forces have cleared half of eastern Aleppo from militants, liberating 80,000 residents.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Syrian government forces have cleared practically half of Aleppo from militant strongholds, liberating some 80,000 residents, tens of thousands of them children, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

    "In fact, half of the territory in parts of eastern Aleppo occupied by militants in recent years has been completely freed," spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

    "Most importantly, more than 80,000 Syrians have been liberated, tens of thousands children. Many received for the first time water, food, medical care from Russian humanitarian centers," he stressed.

    However, Western countries are exhibiting "surprising blindness" in their evaluation of the Syrian government troops' ability to achieve progress in Aleppo, the ministry added.

    The statement was made in response to statements by the US Department of State, British Foreign Office and French Foreign Ministry that Aleppo civilians allegedly sustained huge losses during an operation of the Syrian troops, as well as calls by certain Bundestag lawmakers to impose new sanctions against Russia.

    "Our Western counterparts are showing surprising blindness when it is time to assess the real situation in Aleppo. Over the past day, thanks to very well prepared and careful actions of Syrian servicemen, the situation drastically changed. Nearly half of the territory of Aleppo's eastern part occupied by militants over the past years has been completely liberated," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

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    Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, Syria, Aleppo
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