Russia: Halt of airstrikes on Aleppo to continue
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.