November 4, 2016: A Russian-declared 10-hour cease-fire went into effect in Syria’s embattled city of Aleppo Friday to allow both rebels and civilians to leave the city.
The chief of Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, said earlier this week the moratorium, which was also approved by Syrian officials, was intended to “avoid pointless casualties.”
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He said rebels would be allowed to leave the city along two new corridors, one leading to the Turkish border and the other to the city of Idlib. The rebels are not required to surrender their weapons.
Six other exits are available to civilians who wish to evacuate.
However, rebel groups in Aleppo have dismissed Russia’s offer, accusing them of lying and calling the cease-fire a media stunt for “public consumption.” Similar humanitarian pauses have been organised by Moscow and Damascus before, but have largely failed.
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The most recent was in mid-October, when United Nations and Red Cross aid trucks sat at the Turkish border for weeks, awaiting confirmation that it was safe for them to pass. In mid-September, airstrikes on a U.N. aid convoy near Aleppo killed at least 20 people, the Red Cross reported.
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The United Nations says about 250,000 civilians on Aleppo’s eastern side are desperate for supplies and hundreds of others urgently need to be evacuated for medical care. (VOA)