Russian and Syrian warplanes stopped airstrikes on Aleppo on Tuesday in preparation to allow civilians and rebels to leave the besieged city, Russian state media reported.
The strikes were halted from 10 a.m. to “introduce a humanitarian pause” on Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said.
The temporary truce between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. local time Thursday is also aimed at allowing the ill or wounded to be evacuated from rebel-held eastern parts of Aleppo, Russia said.
Civilians will be able to leave the city through six routes and militants through two routes, Russia’s Tass news agency reported.
It comes after the United States and Britain said Sunday that they were considering sanctions against Syria and its ally Russia over the situation in Aleppo. Syria and Russia do not appear to have discussed the halting of airstrikes with the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
Almost 300,000 people remain in the northern Syrian city amid unrelenting bombing in what Secretary of State John Kerry described as “the largest humanitarian disaster since World War II.”
Speaking Monday, Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria, said “Aleppo will not be there anymore” if a solution cannot be found between now and December.
Kerry said the horror “could stop tomorrow morning” if the Syrian government and Russia acted with decency. He said crimes against humanity are a daily occurrence in Syria.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said more than 10,000 armed rebels remain in Aleppo, making it folly for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad to believe they can ultimately claim a military victory.