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Terrorists in Aleppo continue receiving (1) US-made TOW (tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided) antitank missile systems, Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi said on Monday, October 17, 2016.
The western part of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, is under the control of government forces. The eastern part is controlled by various militant groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra, outlawed in Russia as a terrorist organization. According to the United Nations, in Aleppo’s eastern areas there are no more than 8000 opposition fighters and about 900 Nusra militants. The Syrian army has blocked them in an attempt to force them to leave the city. In the West, Russia and Syria are accused of indiscriminate bombardments of Aleppo, including strikes on hospitals. Moscow dismisses these charges as groundless. The Russian military group in Syria says it deals only surgical strikes against well-identified targets outside residential areas.
"According to information coming from several sources, militants continue receiving modern types of weapons, including US-made TOW guided antitank missiles", the general said. The militants are also not abandoning their attempts to restore the routes of supplying gangs with armaments and ammunition in eastern Aleppo. However, the Russian air task force "is constantly delivering strikes against arriving reserves and formations with armaments on the approaches to the city", the general said. In the current situation, a unilateral ceasefire is senseless and will allow Jabhat al-Nusra (2) and terrorists aligning with it to restore their combat capability, the Russian general explained. Nevertheless, Russia is working with the United Nations on the issue of withdrawing Jabhat al-Nusra from Aleppo and will introduce humanitarian pauses on its initiative, the general said.
The first such pause will be held on October 20. Russia is ready to work on resolving the complex situation in that city, despite the US inability to influence militants and separate them from the "moderate opposition" (3). Russia’s and Syria’s military will arrange "humanitarian pauses" in Syria’s Aleppo to ensure safe exit from the city for civilians and militants, Sergei Rudskoi announced : "We understand that it might take long to coordinate all the issues. So, we have taken a decision not to waste time and organize "humanitarian pauses", first of all to ensure safe passage for civilians, evacuation of the sick and wounded, and for withdrawal of militants. For these purposes, a "humanitarian pause" will be imposed in Aleppo from 08:00 in the morning till 16:00 on October 20". According to Rudskoi, the Russian air group and the Syrian government army will stop air strikes and fire from other weapons in this time span.
Russia is ready to cease fire in Aleppo, let in medical personnel and ensure the evacuation of sick and injured civilians any moment : "We are prepared to cease fire and ensure the unhampered access of medical personnel to the city and ensure the evacuation of injured and sick as soon as we get a request from humanitarian organizations. The Russian side is prepared to discuss any initiatives and proposals for a settlement in Aleppo".
Gunmen will be able to leave Aleppo via two corridors -via Castello Road and a road in the area of a city market : "We appeal to the leaders of illegal armed groups and their sponsors -from 8 am on October 20 you will be able to leave unimpeded the area of eastern Aleppo via two corridors. Gunmen can get to the area of Idlib through these corridors. It will be possible to use the same corridors for evacuating the ill and wounded. Six more corridors are open for civilians", Rudskoi said.
More than 130 children have fallen victim to militants’ bombardments in Syria’s Aleppo since September, the chief of the Russian General Staff said. "The bombardments of social facilities, schools, mosques and street bazaars in western Aleppo by militants have become systematic. On October 13, a mortar attack in the area of Sulaimaniya killed seven schoolchildren. In all more than 130 children have lost their lives to militants’ fire since September", Rudskoi said. On October 14 the militants shelled residential areas in central Aleppo with mortar shells and makeshift hellfire bombs, killing 13 local civilians. "These facts remain unnoticed by the Western countries, which prefer to avoid registering the militants’ crimes or reacting to them", Rudskoy added.