Russia to 'briefly pause' carpet-bombing Aleppo

Russia to 'briefly pause' carpet-bombing Aleppo
2 min read
18 October, 2016
Russian and Syrian air forces have stopped bombing Aleppo as of 0700 GMT on Tuesday, after pre-dawn strikes hit several rebel-held neighbourhoods killing at least 14 civilians.
One of pre-dawn strikes flattened an apartment block in the rebel-held Bustan al-Qasr district [AFP]
Russian and Syrian warplanes have halted airstrikes on the besieged city of Aleppo early on Tuesday, Moscow announced, in a move set to ensure an eight-hour truce on Thursday.

Russia's defence minister said airstrikes were suspended as of 0700 GMT on Tuesday, adding that the suspension is intended to prepare for the opening of humanitarian corridors for the rebels to leave Aleppo.

"Strikes in the Aleppo region by the Russian and Syrian air forces are stopping today starting at 10:00 am [local time]," Sergei Shoigu said in a televised briefing.

Leading up to Tuesday's brief halt however, Russian and Syrian regime warplanes pounded rebel-held areas of Aleppo, killing at least 14 civilians.

"Russian airplanes carried out intensive airstrikes after midnight, targeting many districts of east Aleppo" the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

One of pre-dawn strikes flattened an apartment block in the rebel-held Bustan al-Qasr district, killing 14 civilians, a local source told The New Arab.

The brutal government offensive against rebel-held eastern Aleppo backed by Russian airpower has plunged Syria into some of the worst violence since the conflict erupted in March 2011. 

The international community has accused Moscow and Damascus of committing potential war crimes in their offensive on the city.  

Russia announced it would halt its bombing campaign from 0500 GMT to 1300 GMT on Thursday to allow in relief supplies to the more than 250,000 civilians believed to be trapped in rebel areas.

During the pause, Syrian rebels, including previously al-Qaeda-affiliated militants, would be allowed to leave to neighbouring rebel-held province of Idlib.

The UN welcomed the pause but said it was not long enough to allow aid deliveries or the evacuation of those civilians who wished to leave.

Agencies contributed to this report.