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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia: No Russian or Syrian Strikes on Aleppo for Past Week

By VOA News October 25, 2016

Russia said Tuesday no Russian or Syrian forces have carried out airstrikes on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo during the past seven days.

Military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said no Russian or Syrian planes have gone near the city that has been left battered by the conflict and is the subject of intense efforts to get humanitarian aid to the several hundred thousand people who remain.

Konashenkov added that six humanitarian passages remained open for people who want to leave the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo.

The seven-day period includes a three-day cease-fire that ended Saturday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that airstrikes in Aleppo resumed shortly after the halt in fighting expired.

There were also accusations from Russia and Syria that rebels had prevented people from using the corridors to flee, while rebel leaders countered that most civilians were not leaving because they distrusted the Syrian government and what might happen if they did go.

As many as 300,000 civilians are thought to be trapped in eastern Aleppo, with little food or emergency medical supplies. No aid has entered the city since early July, and the United Nations warns that food rations will run out by the end of this month.

United Nations relief chief Stephen O'Brien expressed frustration that medical evacuations that were supposed to accompany the cease-fire did not take place.

"I am outraged that the fate of vulnerable civilians – sick and injured people, children and the elderly, all in need of critical and life-saving support – rests mercilessly in the hands of parties who have consistently and unashamedly failed to put them above narrow political and military interests," he said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday the Russian government will not consider another halt in fighting for Aleppo.

Ryabkov, speaking to Interfax news agency, said any new truce would require "our opponents" to ensure what he called "appropriate behavior" by "anti-government fighters" seeking to topple the Damascus government and oust President Bashar al-Assad. In a statement, Ryabkov accused unnamed anti-government groups of sabotaging medical evacuations that had been scheduled to take place during the cease-fire.

In a separate foreign ministry statement Monday, Moscow again called on the United States to ensure the separation of jihadist fighters in Aleppo from what it called "moderate opposition fighters" seeking to drive Assad from power.



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