ALEPPO, Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a 10-hour humanitarian pause in hostilities to be held on Friday to allow rebels to leave the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo through two corridors.
“This decision has been coordinated with the Syrian leadership … “to avoid senseless victims,” Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s chief of the general staff, said Wednesday.
The rebels will be allowed to leave with their weapons. One corridor will head toward Syria’s border with Turkey while the other will head toward Syria’s Idlib province. Six other corridors will be established to allow civilians to leave as well.
Gerasimov said that since the United States has not been able to properly identifythe Syrian rebel opposition, some of which are considered moderate, from others considered terrorists, such as former al-Qaida ally Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
“Considering that our American colleagues were unable to separate the opposition from terrorists, we are addressing all militant leaders directly, urging them to cease hostilities and leave Aleppo with their arms,” Gerasimov said. “Two corridors will be opened, from which Syrian troops and weapons would be pulled back.”
Russia has accused armed groups in Aleppo of firing into escape corridors to prevent civilians from leaving. On Tuesday, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu said negotiations between the warring sides in Syria have been postponed indefinitely due to rebel attacks.
Russia and Assad’s regime have been accused of committing war crimes due to their at-times indiscriminate bombing in civilian populations, particularly over their alleged bombing of hospitals and schools.
Syrian rebels on Friday announced the launch of an offensive in Aleppo to break President Bashar al-Assad’s siege of the embattled eastern section of the city.
Gerasimov said the rebel’s offensive failed.
“The militants’ efforts to break loose from the city have failed. The terrorists have suffered huge losses in manpower, weapons and equipment. They are unable to pull out of the city,” Gerasimov said.