Syria Rebels Dismiss Putin’s Aleppo Peace Initiatives
Hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for new humanitarian pause in Syria’s Aleppo on November 4, rebel groups have dismissed the order.
According to a report in The New York Times, a spokesman for one of the main Syrian rebel groups in Aleppo has dismissed Russia’s humanitarian pause in the city, describing it as a media stunt for “public consumption.”
Yasser al-Youssef, a spokesman for the Nour el-Din el-Zinki rebel group, says Russia “is not serious” and its latest initiatives “don’t concern us.”
Reportedly, the Russian Defence Ministry informed in a statement that Putin has called for humanitarian pause, urging rebels to use it to leave the eastern, besieged district.
He has ordered that the aid corridors — which Russia had opened earlier — also be open on Friday, for longer hours, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., along with two new exit routes for the rebels to leave eastern Aleppo.
The statement says the exits will be open on Friday for both civilians and rebels “in order to prevent a senseless loss of life.” It had also been claimed that the rebel offensive on the Syrian government-held districts in western Aleppo that was launched last week has failed to break through the siege.
Al-Youssef said the Russian leader’s comments do not reflect the reality on the ground. He said that the rebels want “an international commission to check the Russian lies.”
At this point, it is to be noted that several previous attempts at introducing pauses in the fighting and bombing have quickly deteriorated, with both sides accusing the other of breaking the truce.
Reportedly, the most recent pause in mid-October was assumed to be more successful as fighting was suspended for several days, despite being originally planned for only eight hours. But at the end, it also came to stop with the resumption of Russian airstrikes against the besieged, rebel-held portion of eastern Aleppo.
It has been reported that Washington called off bilateral talks with Russia this month following the collapse of a short-lived ceasefire in Aleppo and Syria’s renewed offensive against the city’s rebel-held east.