Russia Army Prolongs Ceasefire in Syria’s Aleppo

Russia Army Prolongs Ceasefire in Syria’s Aleppo
Thu Oct 20, 2016 19:05:46

Russia says it has extended by a 24 hours a humanitarian pause, which was scheduled to last a few hours in Syria’s embattled city of Aleppo.

On the order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “a decision was made to extend the humanitarian pause by 24 hours,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a statement released on Thursday.

The initial 11-hour pause took effect at 0500 GMT on Thursday in a bid to allow civilians and foreign-sponsored militants to quit the areas they are controlling in Aleppo.

Shoigu did not elaborate on when the extended cessation of hostilities would end in Aleppo, but the United Nations said it had received a pledge from Moscow to extend it until the weekend.

“They (the Russians) have said 11 hours per day and four days from today, Thursday. We hope it can be four days from tomorrow Friday. They are considering that additional day,” said the UN Syria humanitarian advisor, Jan Egeland.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Egeland expressed hope that the first sick and wounded would be transferred out of the eastern parts on Friday to government-held western Aleppo or militant-held Idlib, according to their choice.

“We believe we now have all of the green lights that we need both from the Russians and the government and from the armed opposition groups” to begin evacuations, Egeland said.

He further noted the operation would be organized by the UN, the World Health Organization, Red Cross, Red Crescent and help from non-governmental organizations.

Reports say that UN aid convoys are ready to move from western Aleppo and from Turkey.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that there are perhaps 6,000-7,000 militants and 275,000 civilians in eastern Aleppo.

S/SH 11

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