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Kremlin: Pause in Aleppo can be extended only if terrorists do not grow stronger

October 20, 2016, 15:45 UTC+3

At the October 19 meeting in Berlin, Vladimir Putin called on Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande to contribute to dissociation of terrorists and moderate opposition in Aleppo

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. The humanitarian pause in Aleppo can only be extended if terrorists do not grow stronger and start rearming, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday following the Normandy Four meeting in Berlin.

According to Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his counterparts that the extension of a humanitarian pause in Aleppo is "possible and desirable, but not if this pause is used for strengthening, rearming and re-equipping terrorists."

"In that case, of course, the extension of the pause will be quite problematic," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Peskov has preferred to avoid commenting on the effectiveness of the humanitarian pause in Aleppo.

"It would be wrong if we made any judgements. The question about the effectiveness of the humanitarian pause should be addressed to the Defense Ministry," he said.

"The stakes are really high," Peskov said. "Everybody agrees that the humanitarian pause is very necessary and the role of the political will Russia displayed when it declared the pause is rather high. Hopes are pinned on it."

Putin urges Merkel, Hollande to help separate terrorists, opposition

Peskov went on to say that Putin called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande at a meeting in Berlin Wednesday to contribute to dissociation of terrorists and moderate opposition during the humanitarian pause in Aleppo.

"Putin spoke about the necessity of interaction of all countries having influence in the region to conduct real… work to separate moderate opposition and terrorist groups. He called on France and Germany to use, when it is possible, all levers in their hands for that," Peskov said.

Initially, the beginning of a humanitarian pause in Aleppo was scheduled for 08:00 Moscow Time on October 20. However, Russian and Syrian aircraft halted airstrikes near Aleppo ahead of schedule, at 10:00 Moscow Time on October 18. The humanitarian pause will make it possible for representatives of the UN and the Syrian Red Crescent Society to implement all measures to let the sick and wounded and the persons accompanying them, as well as the civilian population, leave the city. Eight corridors will be available in Aleppo, two of them - for the armed units leaving the city.

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