Unilateral humanitarian pause in Aleppo begins

Posted at 8:23 AM, Nov 04, 2016

A 10-hour humanitarian pause in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo was set to get under way Friday, but doubts remain whether it will be effective.

The pause, which was to begin at 9 a.m. local time and end at 7 p.m., was unilaterally declared by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a senior Russian official.

Six humanitarian corridors have been opened and two for rebels to use if they choose to surrender, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing Thursday.

However, residents in rebel-held Aleppo told CNN that they haven’t heard about corridors. Those same residents also said Friday morning has been quiet — they haven’t heard airstrikes or clashes between rebels and regime forces.

Many are skeptical of both Russia’s motives behind the ceasefire and its potential efficacy.

Some say Russia is using this pause to prepare for a major offensive against Aleppo, a charge it denies.

Syrian rebels have tried to break the regime’s siege of opposition-held eastern Aleppo, which has been choked off from food, fuel and other necessities.

They launched a new offensive late last month, in which 84 people were killed in three days, according to the Syrian military.

A recent ceasefire led to a relative calm for several days, despite being originally planned for only eight hours. But that pause also ended with the resumption of Russian airstrikes against the besieged, rebel-held portion of eastern Aleppo.

However, few civilians used that lull in violence to flee the city