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Rebels and Civilians leave City as 10-hour cease-fire by Russia comes into Effect in Syria’s Aleppo

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

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FILE - Rebel fighters ride a pickup truck with civilians fleeing conflict in Dahiyet al-Assad, west Aleppo city, Syria, Oct. 30, 2016. A new cease-fire allows civilians and rebels to leave the embattled city. VOA

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.

Representational image. VOA
Representational image. VOA

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)

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Syria Uses Familiar Tactic in Rebel Idlib: Bombing Civilians

The United Nations is demanding an immediate end to indiscriminate attacks against civilians

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Syria, Rebel, Idlib
FILE - Destruction is seen around the Udai hospital following airstrikes on the town of Saraqeb in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, Jan. 29, 2018. VOA

The United Nations is demanding an immediate end to indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in northwest Syria, warning the warring parties their actions might amount to war crimes.

U.N. agencies say an intense military escalation by Russian-backed Syrian forces and armed rebels in northwest Syria is having a catastrophic impact on the civilian population. Agencies confirm at least 160 civilians have been killed and hundreds more wounded in fighting over recent weeks.

They say 3 million people in Idlib need protection and 300,000 civilians who have fled their homes in the past two months are in imminent danger.

 

Spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jens Laerke says civilians and civilian infrastructure are coming under daily attack by airstrikes, artillery shelling and barrel bombs.

Syria, Rebel, Idlib
FILE – Damage is seen at a hospital after an airstrike in Deir al-Sharqi village in Idlib province, Syria, April 27 2017. VOA

“Since the 28th of April, there have been 25 confirmed attacks on health care in the northwest, including on 24 health facilities and one ambulance,” he said. “Two of the attacked health facilities were hit more than once, and at least six health workers have been killed.”

Laerke says health care facilities are fully protected under international humanitarian law, and it is illegal to target them. Few health facilities remain intact to care for the sick and wounded, he told VOA.

“Already before the recent months of escalation, the status of health care in Syria at large, and in particular in Idlib, was already appalling,” he said. “Even though those facilities have not been hit, they fear that they may be hit. So, the doctors, the health care personnel are leaving, the patients are not going to those hospitals. Understandably.”

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Laerke says aid agencies are providing food and health services through mobile clinics to people who are newly displaced in northwest Syria. In addition, many schools in the region have been attacked, he says, so catch-up classes are being provided for thousands of children who have been out of school since May. (VOA)