Russia gives rebels Friday deadline to leave Aleppo

Russia gives rebels Friday deadline to leave Aleppo
Russia extends disputed moratorium on airstrikes over Aleppo, despite claims that the bombings have continued regardless, in what could be the calm before an all-out assault on East Aleppo.
2 min read
02 November, 2016
Opposition groups say Russia has continued bombing despite its moratorium [Anadolu]
Russia will purportedly extend its moratorium on airstrikes in Aleppo until Friday evening to allow rebel groups to leave the city, Russia's defence ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry said that this was an opportunity for rebels to "to avoid senseless victims" and called upon opposition fighters to leave the city without their arms.

Syrian and Rusian forces allege that they have ceased airstrikes on Aleppo since October 18, however opposition groups and Western government have disputed this claim.

Moscow has persistently denied that it has continued to kill civilians in Aleppo, despite witness accounts and reporting by credible monitors that state otherwise. It said on Tuesday that the moratorium was still in force, however threatened that this could not continue if rebels continued fighting.

Despite battering and besieging the once-thiriving economic hub that was Aleppo, pro-regime forces have been unable to wrest the city's east from rebel control.

According to Western intelligence officials, Russia and the Syrian regime are now preparing an all out assault on rebel-held parts of Aleppo that could begin as early as this week in an attempt to end the battle.

The Russian intention is to take advantage of the US' preoccupation with its presidential election to mount a devastating shock and awe attack on the city, according to British press reports.

Wednesday's announcement by the Defence Ministry sets the moratorium's end at 1900 local time on November 4.