Rus­sia: Halt of airstrikes on Aleppo to con­tinue

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Philip Issa

BEIRUT >> The Rus­sian mil­i­tary said Tuesday the halt of Rus­sian and Syr­ian air strikes, now in its sev­enth day, on be­sieged east­ern parts of the city of Aleppo will con­tinue and hu­man­i­tar­ian cor­ri­dors will re­main open even as the Syr­ian army has un­leashed a new of­fen­sive on the rebel-held neigh­bor­hoods.

Lt. Gen. Sergei Rud­skoi of the mil­i­tary’s Gen­eral Staff said Tuesday that Rus­sian and Syr­ian war­planes have stayed 6 miles away from Aleppo for a week. He said that “the mora­to­rium on Rus­sian and Syr­ian air strikes on the city will be ex­tended.”

Last week, Rus­sia also de­clared a three­day break in fight­ing in­tended to al­low the evac­u­a­tion of both mil­i­tants and civil­ians from Aleppo’s rebel-held east­ern part. The rebels re­jected the Rus­sian of­fer, cit­ing lack of se­cu­rity guar­an­tees for the evac­uees, and the planned evac­u­a­tion of civil­ians also failed.

Rud­skoi ac­cused the mil­i­tants of pre­vent­ing both civil­ians and the rebels will­ing to leave Aleppo from ex­it­ing the city.

While the Syr­ian army has re­sumed its of­fen­sive, Rud­skoi said six hu­man­i­tar­ian cor­ri­dors have re­mained open and new breaks in fight­ing could be ne­go­ti­ated to evac­u­ate civil­ians.

He added that the Rus­sian mil­i­tary and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties helped evac­u­ate 48 women and chil­dren from east­ern Aleppo the pre­vi­ous evening.

Those evac­u­a­tions could not be in­de­pen­dently con­firmed. The U.N. has es­ti­mated that 275,000 peo­ple are trapped by the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment’s siege of the rebel-held east­ern parts of the con­tested city.

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