Russia Extends Aleppo Ceasefire, UN Mulls Evacuation

Fighting Reported Near One Evacuation Zone, But Truce Mostly Holds

The Russian ceasefire in Aleppo, initially eight hours but since extended to 11, has now been extended through Saturday, insisting they want to support efforts to get civilians out of the Nusra Front-held eastern part of Aleppo. There were reports of skirmishes on the ground near one of the designated evacuation zones, but no Russian airstrikes.

The evacuations are slow going so far, with pro-rebel activists urging civilians not to leave, claiming the ceasefire is a Russian lie and that they’ll exterminate every civilian who tries to leave through the zones. The lack of formal UN involvement in the evacuation has also deterred many.

That may change, however, with UN humanitarian officials saying they’re planning a formal medical evacuation for wounded civilians on Friday, having received assurances that the ceasefire will last through that period. They did warn, however, that getting it organized that quickly will be difficult, and anything could still go wrong to stop it.

The US and EU have been pressuring Russia to halt all airstrikes against Aleppo permanently, while Russia has been urging them to get everyone away from the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. While Russia has extended to ceasefire with an eye toward that happening, so far nothing is happening.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.