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Russian Military Says Halting Fire around Aleppo for Three Hours

A Syrian woman shelters in a damaged building following reported air strikes on July 14, 2016 in Aleppo's neighbourhood of Tariq al-Bab (Thaer Mohammed/AFP)
A Syrian woman shelters in a damaged building following reported air strikes on July 14, 2016 in Aleppo's neighbourhood of Tariq al-Bab (Thaer Mohammed/AFP)

Russia's defense ministry on Wednesday said it would halt fire around Syria's ravaged city of Aleppo for three hours each day to allow humanitarian aid into the city.

"To guarantee total security for the convoys to Aleppo there will be humanitarian windows established from 1000 to 1300 local time starting tomorrow 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.

The pause would take place daily from Thursday from 0700 GMT to 1000 GMT, although Rudskoy did not specify how many days it would continue.

Rudskoy said that "more than 1,000 were killed and about 2,000 wounded" in the rebel ranks over the past four days southwest of Aleppo.

He added 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".

"We support the proposals by the UN to establish joint control over the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population of Aleppo along the Castello road," he said.

The recent flare-up in fighting began in late June as government forces closed in on the Castello Road, the last route into rebel-held parts of the city.

The United Nations has called for urgent aid access to Aleppo, warning that civilians are at risk from water shortages and disease as fighting has intensified.

Rebels and regime fighters have sent hundreds of reinforcements to Aleppo in anticipation of the fighting, after opposition forces broke a government siege at the weekend and vowed to capture the entire city.

Aleppo has been divided between a rebel-held east and regime-controlled west since fighting erupted in mid-2012.

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