Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially rejected a request from his nation’s Defense Ministry to endorse a resumption of Russian airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo, after 10 straight days of no Russian airstrikes being conducted.
Russia launched a brief ceasefire in Aleppo last week, and extended it for four days. Even after it officially expired, they have not resumed strikes against the city, with officials saying they want to convince Western nations to separate the moderate rebel factions within East Aleppo from the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
So far that’s not been working so well, as indeed separating the two was the primary goal of a weeklong ceasefire a month ago, and a public US call to separate never amounted to anything. After that, the idea appears to have been given up on by the US, and Russia has also sought Turkey and Saudi Arabia’s influence on the more moderate factions.
As the rebel factions are launching a new offensive trying to brief the Aleppo siege, the Russian defense ministry has gone to the unusual step of publicly announcing their request to Putin, and Putin’s very public rejection may suggest there is some debate within the Russian leadership on how to proceed.