Russia: Rebel Attacks Around Aleppo Jeopardize Pause in Airstrikes

Warns Russia Can't Maintain Pause if Strikes Continue

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned today that the moratorium on Russian airstrikes around Aleppo is in jeopardy from the continued rebel attacks against positions around government-held Western Aleppo.

Peskov insisted Russia wants to enable to exit of civilians from rebel Eastern Aleppo, and to create conditions wherein humanitarian aid can be delivered to the city. Russia has paused its airstrikes for about two weeks now to that end.

While it seemed early on that Russia could afford to be patient, with Eastern Aleppo surrounded and the Syrian military doing well in clashes with the Nusra Front. Late last week, however, Nusra and their allies launched a major counterattack, which has been raging since.

The counterattack came from outside the city, trying to end the siege on the east and threatening government-held territories in the west. Russia has so far not gotten involved, and while the Syrian military seems to have staved off any huge defeats, this likely adds to pressure from Russia’s Defense Ministry.

Though President Putin has so far insisted the pause should continue, the defense ministry has made much of calling for an end to it and resuming airstrikes. It is unusual for them to publicly dissent from official policy, and the pick-up in fighting will only increase those calls.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.