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Russia, Syria to extend October 20 humanitarian pause in Aleppo — General Staff

October 19, 2016, 18:41 UTC+3

Evacuation from Aleppo will be tracked with web cameras and drones, broadcast on Russian Defense Ministry website

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© Alexander Kots/Komsomolskaya Pravda via AP

MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. The Russian and Syrian militaries have decided to extend the October 20 humanitarian pause in Aleppo for three hours, Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy said on Wednesday.

According to Rudskoy, the pause will begin at 08:00 Moscow Time on October 20.

"Due to numerous requests from representatives of international organizations, it was decided to extend a humanitarian pause for another three hours - until 19:00. This will make it possible for representatives of the UN and the Syrian Red Crescent Society to implement all measures to let the sick and injured and the persons accompanying them, as well as the civilian population, leave the city," he said.

Rudskoy recalled that eight corridors would be opened in Aleppo, two of them - for the armed units leaving the city.

He added that the same corridors will be used to evacuate the sick and wounded. "If they wish, they can be delivered to hospitals in eastern Aleppo, which are prepared to accommodate them," Rudskoy said.

He noted that the command of the Syrian government troops had already given all necessary instructions on the pullback of Syrian army units to a distance allowing militants to leave Aleppo.

Video recording

Russia’s military will video record the course of evacuation of residents and militants from Aleppo with the help of web cameras and drones, which will transport images to the Russian Defense Ministry website.

"The course of the evacuation will be tracked in real time with the help of web cameras mounted near humanitarian corridors, and unmanned aerial vehicles, with images transported to the Russian Defense Ministry’s website," Sergey Rudskoy said.

Russian, Syrian warplanes refrain from approaching more than ten kilometers to Aleppo, he added.  "Air raids by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force have been halted as of 10:00 local time (7 am GMT) on Tuesday. Russian and Syrian planes are not approaching more than ten kilometers to Aleppo," he said.

Aleppo civilians, militants notified of areas for exit corridors

Rudskoy went on to say that militants and civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo have been notified of the areas where six humanitarian corridors are due to be opened.

"Civilians and militants in the eastern party of Aleppo have been duly notified where the humanitarian corridors are located and how to use them. This information was released through Syria’s media, the Internet and text messages. Loudspeakers were used for the purpose as well. Besides, over 150,000 leaflets were airdropped on Aleppo," the general said, noting over 300,000 more leaflets would be airdropped on the city by day’s end.

For evacuation of the sick and wounded people, nine buses and seven ambulances were readied for a northern route and eight buses and eight ambulances - for a southern route. Two more buses and eight more ambulances were put on stand-by.

"These vehicles are to be concentrated at control checkpoints by 8.00 am Moscow Standard Time (5.00 am GMT) on October 20," Rudskoy said.

The UN mission staff members and volunteers of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) are expected to help the evacuees board the vehicles and will accompany them along the entire route across the areas controlled by government forces.

Russia urges US to ensure evacuation of sick, wounded

According to Rudskoy, Russia calls on the United States to exert influence on the militant leaders active in Syria's Aleppo in order to ensure the evacuation of the sick and wounded people from the city.

"We hope that the US and other interested parties will influence the armed groups’ leaders and ensure the evacuation of the sick and wounded, as well as the exit of the civilians and combatants," he said.

The general pointed out that Russia and Syria had fulfilled all their obligations concerning the implementation of the humanitarian pause in eastern Aleppo.

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