The Russian military, which is under growing pressure from the US to ensure humanitarian aid is able to flow to various places around the north Syrian city of Aleppo, today announced that it will begin three-hour ceasefires every day, which will see the pause of all military action in the area.
The city of Aleppo, which before the civil war was Syria’s financial and industrial capital, is split roughly down the middle, with rebels led by the Nusra Front controlling the east and the Syrian government controlling the west. Over the weekend, Nusra broke the siege against their side of the city, but is threatening to block supplies to the government side.
Russia has been striking Nusra forces in an attempt to slow their recent advances, and both Nusra and the Syrian military are scrambling reinforcements into the area. This level of fighting on the ground makes it unclear how much a pause of Russian airstrikes will actually have on aid struggles, as Russian airstrikes aren’t what is keeping aid out in the first place.
UN officials say they will “consider” the Russian announcement, but they had sought a protracted, total ceasefire in the area as a way to get aid to all the civilians trapped in the middle of the war. That’s well outside of Russia’s power to grant, however, and the fighting on the ground is likely to escalate, not slow, in the weeks to come.
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