Moscow (AFP): Russia said on Thursday it was ready to halt fire for 48-hour periods in Aleppo from next week, following UN calls to extend humanitarian pauses to deliver aid.
“Russia’s defence ministry is ready to support the proposal by UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura regarding the introduction of weekly 48-hour ‘humanitarian pauses’ (in Aleppo),” defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.
“We are ready to implement the first 48-hour ‘humanitarian pause’ to deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo residents as a ‘pilot project’ already next week in order to ensure safe cargo deliveries to the city’s civilians.”
“Specific dates and times will be determined after information regarding the readiness of humanitarian convoys is received from the UN, as well as confirmation of safety guarantees from American partners,” he said.
Russia last week declared it would hold three-hour pause in artillery fire and airstrikes daily around the ravaged Syrian city but the UN decried this as insufficient to help the approximately 1.5 million people in Aleppo.
Mistura insisted on a 48-hour halt, saying the logistics along mined and destroyed roads made access impossible in just three hours and endangered aid workers.
The EU on Thursday called for an “immediate halt” to fighting, as the UN said aid was not reaching the besieged residents desperate for food and care.
Russia has flied an air strike campaign in Syria since September to help troops loyal to long-time Moscow ally Bashar al-Assad fight rebels and Islamist jihadists in the country.