Russia: Syria establishes control over eastern Aleppo

(CNN) — [Breaking news update, 2:24 p.m. ET] The Syrian government has established control over eastern Aleppo, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

“Over the last hour we’ve received information that the military activities in east Aleppo have stopped,” Churkin said, according to a simultaneous translation provided by the UN. “So there’s no question about cessation of hostilities, or humanitarian operations. The Syrian government has established control over east Aleppo so now the stage has come for practical humanitarian initiatives.”

[Previous story, published 1:47 p.m. ET]

Sources inside Aleppo tell CNN a ceasefire and evacuation agreement has been reached in the beleaguered eastern part of the city.

Journalist and resident Karam al-Masri, who is in Aleppo, told CNN Tuesday that residents received cell phone messages from rebel leaders announcing a ceasefire.

Aleppo Media Center (AMC) posted to its Facebook page Tuesday that a ceasefire had announced in Aleppo “in preparation for the evacuation of civilians from besieged areas through safe passages.”

AMC said, “Within hours, civilians and military factions will be evacuated from the besieged city to Aleppo’s northern and western countryside.”

The Aleppo ceasefire and evacuation agreement was reached with “Turkish mediation,” a commander in the Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham told CNN.

“The deal was reached after Turkey entered the negotiation to a ceasefire,” al-Masri said. The group’s commander said people will start being evacuated from the eastern area of the city Wednesday morning local time.

The Turkish Foreign Affairs ministry confirmed its involvement in the deal to CNN and said civilians will be evacuated to the city of Idlib.

The development is a hopeful one for the international community, which has failed to find a political solution to the crisis in Aleppo, which has become the epicenter of Syria’s brutal five-year war.

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