Airstrikes on hold ahead of ex­o­dus

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Rus­sian and Syr­ian war­planes have halted their airstrikes on Syria’s besieged city of Aleppo in prepa­ra­tion for a tem­po­rary pause in the mil­i­tary push that Moscow has an­nounced for later in the week, the Rus­sian de­fence min­is­ter said. Ac­cord­ing to Sergei Shoigu, the halt in the strikes should help pave way for mil­i­tants to leave the east­ern rebel-held parts of the con­tested city. Both Rus­sian and Syr­ian air raids on Aleppo were sus­pended at 10am yes­ter­day, Shoigu said. He de­scribed the sus­pen­sion as a pre­cur­sor for the open­ing of hu­man­i­tar­ian cor­ri­dors. Moscow on Mon­day an­nounced a “hu­man­i­tar­ian pause” be­tween 8am and 4pm tomorrow to al­low civil­ians and mil­i­tants safe pas­sage out of the city. At that time, Rus­sian and Syr­ian mil­i­taries will de­sist from any of­fen­sive ac­tions. Syr­ian rebels, in­clud­ing Al Qaeda mil­i­tants, as well as the wounded and the sick, will be al­lowed to leave to the neigh­bour­ing rebel-held province of Idlib. “The early halt­ing of airstrikes is nec­es­sary to de­clare a ‘hu­man­i­tar­ian pause’,” Shoigu said in a tele­vised state­ment. “It will ... guar­an­tee a safe exit of civil­ians through six cor­ri­dors and pre­pare for the evac­u­a­tion of the ill and the wounded from the east­ern part of Aleppo.” Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the halt in the airstrikes was a good­will ges­ture to pave the way for the pause. “The Rus­sian mil­i­tary is of­fer­ing yet another chance, and we hope that our part­ners will al­low us all to take ad­van­tage of that,” Peskov said.

POUNDED: A fam­ily walks through the rub­ble

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