Russia Says Over 8,000 Have Fled Rebel-Held Aleppo in Last 24 Hours

People ride a tricycle as they flee deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

MOSCOW, Dec 9- The Russian military said on Friday it had helped more than 8,000 Syrian citizens flee parts of eastern Aleppo still controlled by rebels in the last 24 hours, including almost 3,000 children.

The Russian military said in a statement that 14 rebels had also surrendered to Syrian government forces, laying down their weapons and crossing into western Aleppo. They had all been pardoned, it said.

Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday as saying that the Syrian army, which has captured territory including Aleppo’s historic Old City in recent days, had halted military activity to let civilians leave rebel-held territory.

However, Reuters reporters in a government-held part of the city said bombardment could still be heard after his remarks were published. Washington said it had no confirmation that the army had ceased fire.

The Russian defence ministry said its forces were working hard to de-mine areas in eastern Aleppo which Syrian government forces had captured from rebels.

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