Russia says halt in Aleppo bombing will be extended | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Russia says halt in Aleppo bombing will be extended

world Updated: Oct 26, 2016 00:57 IST
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People dig in the rubble in an ongoing search for survivors at a site hit previously by an airstrike in the rebel-held Tariq al-Bab neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. (Reuters File Photo)

Moscow said Tuesday that Russian and Syrian warplanes have not conducted any air strikes on the city of Aleppo for the last seven days and are upholding a moratorium on bombing.

“All flights by Russian and Syrian air forces have been completely halted in a 10-kilometre zone around Aleppo since October 18,” senior military official Sergei Rudskoi said at a briefing.

“The moratorium on air strikes by Russian and Syrian planes around the city will be extended,” he added, without specifying a timeframe.

A so-called “humanitarian pause” declared by Damascus and Moscow ran out at 1600 GMT on Saturday, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported there were air strikes afterwards against the opposition-controlled district of Sheikh Saeed.

Russia’s defence spokesman Igor Konashenskov said earlier that six passages for civilians to leave rebel-held eastern Aleppo were still functioning and that 48 women and children left late Monday.

Russia on Monday ruled out early moves to renew its ceasefire in Aleppo after the brief halt ended, admitting that few people had used humanitarian passages to leave the city and blaming failures by the US-led coalition.

Ahead of the ceasefire, Russian and Syrian planes had stopped bombing on Tuesday last week.

The West has accused Moscow of perpetrating potential war crimes in Aleppo through indiscriminate bombing in support of a Syrian government offensive to retake total control over the city.

Nearly 500 people have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded since the Syrian army, backed by Russian airpower, launched an operation to recapture eastern Aleppo on September 22.

Russia is a key ally of Syria’s government and began a military intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad in September last year.

Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem is set to hold talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Friday.