U.N. officials are studying a new Russian military proposal to establish four corridors to allow civilians and rebels to leave the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
News of the Russian military proposal came while the U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura was attending a weekly meeting of the Humanitarian Access Task Force. De Mistura said he and his colleagues were taken by surprise.
"It is... premature for me and others to actually make any comments until we have further details on what has been and is the Russian proposal or initiative," he said.
A man holds one of the leaflets dropped by the Syrian army over opposition-held Aleppo districts asking residents to cooperate with the military and calling on fighters to surrender, July 28, 2016.
Under the Russian proposal, civilians reportedly will be allowed to leave Aleppo through three routes and rebels through a fourth. De Mistura has confirmed that several Russian and, probably American, military experts are on their way to Geneva.
"Most likely in order to discuss the so-called devils in the details," he said. "... I also want to be able to have my colleagues from the humanitarian side to analyze what are the better information they may be getting on how this Russian initiative fits with a humanitarian initiative."
An estimated 300,000 people are trapped in Aleppo.Government forces are encircling the city, making it impossible for aid agencies to bring in food, medicine and other essential supplies.
Residents inspect a damaged site after an airstrike on Aleppo's rebel held Al-Mashad neighborhood, July 26, 2016.
De Mistura said he is seriously concerned about the welfare of the people of Aleppo, which has become a de facto besieged city.He says only two to three weeks of food supplies remain.
He warned the clock is ticking before Aleppo becomes a major humanitarian besieged area.