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UN Declares Russia's Truce Extension in Aleppo Inadequate

  • VOA News

People walk near a damaged vehicle after an air strike Sunday in the rebel-held besieged al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria October 17, 2016.

People walk near a damaged vehicle after an air strike Sunday in the rebel-held besieged al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria October 17, 2016.

The United Nations says Russia's extension of a truce in the Syrian city of Aleppo is not enough time to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to besieged civilians.

Russian Lt. General Sergei Rudskoi said a "humanitarian pause" Thursday in Aleppo will last from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., three hours longer than originally planned, to allow civilians and rebels to safely leave the city's eastern side.

Rudskoi said the 11 hour truce will allow militants to exit the city using two of eight humanitarian routes, one leading to Turkey and the other a pathway to the rebel-held province of Idlib.

But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has yet to honor the cease-fire extension and rebel troops have indicated they will not leave their positions.

"Before we can do something really meaningful ... we need assurances from all parties," said U.N. humanitarian agency spokesman Jens Laerke.

Russia's three hour extension is inadequate, said Laerke, adding the United Nations needs fighting to stop for "a minimum of 48 hours" to allow UN humanitarian aid teams to mobilize.

The United Nations said about 250,000 civilians are in desperate need of supplies on Aleppo's eastern side and hundreds of others who urgently need of medical care also need to be evacuated.

U.N. and Red Cross trucks packed with supplies have been sitting near the Turkish border for weeks, awaiting guarantees the trucks can safely deliver relief supplies.

Syria and Russia halted airstrikes on Aleppo on Tuesday, and Rudskoi said both countries are keeping their warplanes at least 10 kilometers away from the city.

Syrian and Russians warplanes had been been bombarding the area in an attempt to reclaim Aleppo from rebels.

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