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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Russia declares three-hour air strike pause in Aleppo

After calling for a 48-hour halt in fighting, UN says three hours is not long enough to meet needs of trapped civilians.

Russia's military has announced a three-hour daily halt in air strikes on Syria's Aleppo to allow humanitarian convoys in, but the United Nations said it was not nearly long enough to help trapped civilians.

To guarantee total security for the convoys to Aleppo there will be humanitarian windows established from 1000 to 1300 local time starting tomorrow [Thursday] during which all military hostilities, aviation strikes and artillery strikes will be halted," Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian army's general staff told journalists on Wednesday.

Rudskoy said that a road had been built to an area on the northern outskirts of Aleppo through the Castello shopping centre to "ensure safety and organise round-the-clock delivery of food, water, fuel, medicine and other necessities to the city's west and east".

The UN, which had earlier called for 48-hour weekly pauses for the aid deliveries, said the three-hour truce announced by Russia would not be enough to meet the needs of civilians.

"To meet that capacity of need, you need two lanes and you need to have about 48 hours to get sufficient trucks in," top UN aid official Stephen O'Brien told reporters on Wednesday.

O'Brien said he had not been fully briefed on the Russian proposal, but that there were complicated logistics to address, such as ensuring that lorry drivers have enough time to safely make the trip to the city and back.
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