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Kremlin: Russia may use all available means against terrorists in Aleppo

Strategic decisions on operation in Syria will be made by Vladimir Putin, the General Staff will be in charge of operational supervision

SOCHI, October 28. /TASS/. Russia reserves the right in case of emergency to use all available means to counter terrorists’ provocations in Aleppo, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

The Russian presidential spokesman thus commented on an address by Russia’s General Staff to the supreme commander-in-chief on the issue of resuming air strikes on east Aleppo.

"Considering that terrorists have announced the planned intensification of combat actions and also that they have really switched partially to active offensive operations, the Russian president proceeds from the fact that in case of emergency the Russian side reserves the right to use all available forces and resources to counter the terrorist groupings’ provocative actions and provide due support to the armed forces of the Syrian Arab Republic," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Resumption of airstrikes on Aleppo 'inexpedient'

Putin believes that a resumption of airstrikes on the Syrian capital of Aleppo would be inexpedient, Peskov said.

"The Russian president believes that it would be inexpedient at the moment to resume airstrikes against Aleppo," Peskov told journalists.

"The president believes that it would be possible to extend the ongoing humanitarian pause for the withdrawal of wounded people and militants wishing to leave the city as well as most importantly to give our American partners a chance to implement earlier assumed obligations and made promises on separating the so-called moderate opposition from terrorist groups," Peskov added.

Putin’s spokesman also said that the Russian president pointed out to the country’s right to reserve its help to the Syrian government military forces "using all means and at a proper level considering recent statements made by militants on their intentions to step up military actions."

Peskov said that "decisions regarding further (Russia’s) actions will depend on the unfolding developments."

Vladimir Putin will make strategic decisions on the Russian operation in Syria while the General Staff will be in charge of operational command.

"The General Staff will certainly be in charge of operational command but as for the setting of strategic tasks and the adoption of strategic decisions, they will certainly be set and made by the (Supreme) Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces," Peskov told journalists when asked who would make a decision on ending the humanitarian pause in Aleppo and on other Russian military activities in Syria.

Peskov said that the president would "make decisions on further actions dependent on the situation." He hesitated to say if the decisions would be announced in advance or not. According to him, that will depend on expediency of preliminary announcements.

Peskov explained that the General Staff stance and information received directly from Syria would be taken into account in making those decisions.

Pause in force only in Aleppo

Russia’s military have halted air strikes on terrorists in Syria only in Aleppo, Peskov noted. 

"The humanitarian pause is in force only around Aleppo," Peskov said.

Peskov said it was difficult to set a deadline until which Russian President Vladimir Putin would extend the humanitarian pause in Aleppo.

"The deadline was set ages ago. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that all deadlines had been missed, our American counterparts failed to fulfil the promise," Peskov said.

When asked how long Putin was ready to wait before ordering to resume bombardment of terrorists in Aleppo, the presidential press secretary answered, "I am unable to give a precise answer to your question."

"The top priority task, from the point of view of the president, is evacuation of the wounded and safe exit for the militants who wish to leave the city," he said.

New Russia-US contacts on Syria

According to Peskov, there are no plans for another contacts on the recent developments in Syria between the Russian and the US presidents, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, in the near future.

"No, there is no such plans," the Kremlin official said.

When asked if Russia had notified the US of the decision to extend the humanitarian pause in Aleppo, the Kremlin spokesman answered that "information is exchanged via operative military channels."

"I cannot give you a detailed answer now whether this decision has gone through to the US counterparts or not but regular exchanges of information are being carried out," he added.