Russia extends pause on Aleppo attacks

Moscow lengthens halt on air strikes on Aleppo for the "victims" and urges rebels to leave the city.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russia and Syria halt air strikes on Aleppo since October 18.

Russia’s Defence Ministry announced on Wednesday that it has prolonged a pause on attacks in the Syrian city of Aleppo until Friday evening and called on rebels to leave via two escape corridors.

The announcement comes a day after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a news conference that Russia would not extend the moratorium on air strikes if the rebels continued their attacks on regime forces in Aleppo.

"At the moment the pause is continuing, the exit of the civilian population from eastern Aleppo is being enabled, conditions are being created for humanitarian aid," Peskov said.

Russia-backed regime forces ceased air strikes on Aleppo on October 18 after Western governments fiercely criticised the strikes which killed a large number of civilians and left thousands more trapped in the city.

The two sides stepped up their air strikes targeting opposition-held areas in eastern Aleppo after a cease-fire brokered by Russia and the United States fell apart in September.

The defence ministry said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the pause until 1900 GMT on November 4 for the “victims."

Civilians and the sick and wounded civilians will be allowed to leave via six other corridors which are different from the two reserved for rebels.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Tuesday accused Western governments of backing rebels who were attacking civilians in the city although Moscow and Damascus halted the strikes.

Shoigu also claimed that the Western failure to rein in the rebels made it impossible to continue peace talks in Syria.

"As a result, the prospects for the start of a negotiation process and the return to peaceful life in Syria are postponed for an indefinite period," Shoigu said.

On Monday, regime leader Bashar al- Assad also blamed rebels and the US government for the bloodshed in the years-long war.  

“I’m just a headline — the bad president, the bad guy, who is killing the good guys,” Assad said in an interview with The New York Times and other Western journalists.

“You know this narrative. The real reason is toppling the government. This government doesn’t fit the criteria of the United States.”

Assad said he is still open to dialogue with the US.

"But this doesn't mean to give up its sovereignty and transfer Syria into a puppet country."

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies