- Associated Press - Monday, December 19, 2016

BEIRUT (AP) - The Latest on developments in the civil war in Syria where a cease-fire deal is back on and evacuations of civilians and rebels resume (all times local):

1:35 p.m.

The Russian military says defense ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran will meet in Moscow to discuss Syria.

The meeting, due Tuesday, will coincide with the meeting of the three nation’s foreign ministers, also in the Russian capital.

The military said on Monday that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will host his Iranian counterpart Hossein Dehghan and Turkey’s Fikri Isik.

It says they will discuss ways to resolve the Syrian conflict and help implement U.N. Security Council’s resolutions on Syria.


1:20 p.m.

Turkey says some 4,500 people have been evacuated from eastern Aleppo since midnight, as a fragile cease-fire in Syria resumed.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said through his Twitter account on Monday that a total of 12,000 people have so far been evacuated from the besieged city to an area under opposition control.

The evacuations were made possible through a cease-fire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey that paved way for rebels and civilians to leave the last opposition-held enclave in the city.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency says a total of 131 wounded people - including 46 children - were brought to Turkey for treatment since the evacuations began last week.

The agency says five of them have since died.

Russia is allied with Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Turkey is a leading sponsor of the opposition battling to topple him.


9:10 a.m.

A Syrian activist group and a Lebanon-based TV station say that 10 buses with civilians from two Shiite villages besieged by rebels in the country’s north are on their way to government-controlled areas.

The evacuations from Foua and Kfarya were conditions that were added on to a cease-fire deal that paved way for the last rebels and civilians to depart from the remainder of the rebel enclave in the eastern half of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the pan-Arab Al-Mayadeen TV say the buses left Foua and Kfarya on Monday. More than 2,000 sick and wounded people are supposed to leave the villages.

The evacuation came a day after militants burned six buses assigned to the villages’ evacuations. The Observatory reported shortly before midnight Sunday that government forces allowed five buses to leave rebel-held parts of east Aleppo.


8:20 a.m.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution aimed at immediately deploying U.N. monitors to eastern Aleppo, a move France says will be critical to prevent “mass atrocities” by Syrian forces, and especially militias, who captured the rebel stronghold.

The resolution, due to be put to a vote on Monday, comes as thousands more trapped Aleppo civilians and rebels await evacuation in freezing temperatures in the rebel enclave.

The text calls for the United Nations and other institutions to monitor the evacuations and demands that U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon urgently consult all parties on the immediate deployment of the monitors.

France and Russia, who submitted rival draft resolutions, struck a compromise text after more than three hours of closed-door consultations by the U.N. Security Council on Sunday.

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