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Russian Defense Ministry ready to support 48-hour humanitarian pauses in Aleppo

Russia is ready to accord with the Syrian government all issues regarding humanitarian convoys security

MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry is prepared to support the proposal made by the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, for 48-hour humanitarian pauses to bring humanitarian aid to civilians in the Syrian city of Aleppo and to observe the first such pause next week, the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov has said.

"With the guiding principles of international humanitarian law and the goal of enlarging the scale of humanitarian operation in Aleppo in mind the Russian Defence Ministry is ready to support the proposal of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria Mr. de Mistura concerning the establishment of a 48-hour humanitarian pause to supply the population of the city with food and medical items and to restore life-support systems that were destroyed in result of militia shelling," he said.

He said the Defense Ministry was prepared to observe the first such 48-hour "humanitarian pause" as a "pilot project" as early as next week to confirm it was safe to deliver cargoes to local civilians.

"More precise date and time will be determined after receiving information about the readiness of the convoys from the UN representatives and receiving confirmation of the security guarantees of their safe travel from our American partners," Konashenkov said.

The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura last week came out with an idea of introducing 48-hour pauses in combat operations to deliver aid to Aleppo’s population. He said three-hour pauses proposed by Russia were not enough.

Cooperation with the Syrian government

According to Konashenkov,  Russia is ready to help coordinating with the Syrian government all issues concerning security of humanitarian convoys heading to Aleppo and waits for the same kind of guarantees from the US regarding the so-called ‘moderate opposition’.

"The Russian Federation is ready to accord with the Syrian government all the questions concerning the security of the UN humanitarian convoys. At the same time, we are waiting for the same kind of security guarantees from our American partners regarding the so-called "moderate opposition" and other units that are participating in fighting against the Syrian Army in Aleppo," Konashenkov said.

He said that in response to a UN appeal, "the Russian Defence Ministry is ready to exert additional effort to enhance efficiency of mechanisms of examination and ensuring the security of UN convoys heading to East Aleppo".

"This will help to lower the concerns of the Syrian government about the content of delivered goods and remove the necessity of a detailed examination of the convoys by the government forces. The representatives of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation will exercise any help to the Syrian troops during the passage of the convoy’s through the checkpoints before entering Aleppo," the spokesman said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry is suggesting sending humanitarian convoys to both the western part of Aleppo, controlled by the Syrian army, and eastern quarters held by militants.

"We expect that realization of this initiative will imply the delivery of humanitarian aid to both to the eastern part of Aleppo that is under militia control, as well as to the western part of the city, controlled by government forces, using two different routes," Konashenkov said.

"The first route from the Turkish city of Gaziantep through the border checkpoint that was established by the UN SC resolution 2165, then by Castello road to the eastern part of Aleppo. The other route will be using the road to the east of Aleppo that encircles the city from the northeast to Handarat and then by Castello road to the western part of the city," he said.

Moscow and Damascus launched a joint humanitarian operation in Aleppo on June 28. Several corridors were opened for civilians and militants to leave the city and to deliver food, medical supplies and essentials to Aleppo. Russia’s General Staff later said that combat operations in Aleppo would be paused each day for three hours to let humanitarian convoys reach the city’s center.