UN Welcomes Russian Support for Aleppo Truce

Russia Agrees to Back 48-Hour Ceasefire to Get Aid Into City

by Jason Ditz, August 18, 2016

UN officials say that trucks are “ready to move” into both government and rebel-held districts in the north Syrian city of Aleppo, as Russia endorsed their calls for a 48-hour weekly ceasefire that would allow humanitarian aid into the city at regular intervals, along with facilitating medical evacuations.

Russia has previously announced a 3-hour daily ceasefire, but this does not appear to be sufficient for the UN to make real moves of aid into the area, particularly since it hasn’t been reciprocated by the Nusra Front-dominated rebels. The UN is hoping more time will make the truce more practical.

Russia’s agreement is of limited utility at this point, as the Nusra rebels have turned the tables on the government over the past two weeks, and are attempting to surround the government-held western districts, which would effectively block all aid traffic into that half of the city. The government’s siege on the east has likewise been broken.

Western diplomats expressed doubt about the plan, saying they don’t trust Russia to respect the pause. This, again, may ultimately be irrelevant, as Nusra has made no comments at all on the proposal and has largely ignored previous truces.

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