December 5, 2016 / 10:22 AM / 8 months ago

Russia says will treat as terrorists rebels who refuse to leave Aleppo

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a meeting with Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia, December 5, 2016.Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday he was confident Moscow and Washington can reach a deal in talks this week on the withdrawal of all rebels from the eastern part of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

He told a news conference once the deal was reached, rebels who refuse to leave the besieged part of the city will be treated as terrorists and Russia will support the operation of the Syrian army against those who stay.

Russia and the United States will start talks on the withdrawal in Geneva on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, Lavrov said.

He added that a United Nations resolution on a ceasefire would be counterproductive because a ceasefire would allow rebels to regroup.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova,; writing by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Christian Lowe

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