UN: Russia’s 3-hour truce in Aleppo not enough

Men wait in line to receive food aid in Aleppo, Syria Aug. 10, 2016. Russia said on Wednesday there would be daily three-hour ceasefires in Syria’s Aleppo starting from Thursday to allow humanitarian convoys to enter the city safely. (Reuters)

The United Nations’ top aid official on Wednesday said a three-hour truce announced by Russia to deliver aid to Aleppo would not be enough to meet the needs of civilians in the war-battered Syrian city.

“To meet that capacity of need, you need two lanes and you need to have about 48 hours to get sufficient trucks in,” Stephen O'Brien told reporters.

Russia’s defense ministry on Wednesday said it would halt fire around Syria’s ravaged city of Aleppo for three hours each day to allow humanitarian aid into the city.

“To guarantee total security for the convoys to Aleppo there will be humanitarian windows established from 1000 to 1300 local time starting tomorrow during which all military hostilities, aviation strikes and artillery strikes will be halted,” Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian army’s general staff told journalists.

The pause would take place daily from Thursday from 0700 GMT to 1000 GMT, although Rudskoy did not specify how many days it would continue.

Rudskoy said that “more than 1,000 were killed and about 2,000 wounded” in the rebel ranks over the past four days southwest of Aleppo.

He added that a road had been built to an area on the northern outskirts of Aleppo through the Castello shopping center to “ensure safety and organize round-the-clock delivery of food, water, fuel, medicine and other necessities to the city’s west and east.”

“We support the proposals by the UN to establish joint control over the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population of Aleppo along the Castello road,” he said.

The recent flare-up in fighting began in late June as government forces closed in on the Castello Road, the last route into rebel-held parts of the city.

The United Nations has called for urgent aid access to Aleppo, warning that civilians are at risk from water shortages and disease as fighting has intensified.

Rebels and regime fighters have sent hundreds of reinforcements to Aleppo in anticipation of the fighting, after opposition forces broke a government siege at the weekend and vowed to capture the entire city.

Aleppo has been divided between a rebel-held east and regime-controlled west since fighting erupted in mid-2012.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47