Russian president authorises humanitarian pause to allow civilians and combatants to leave eastern part of city

Vladimir Putin has ordered a 10 -hour truce on Friday in the war-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo, the Russian defence ministry has said.

A decision was made to introduce a humanitarian pause in Aleppo on 4 November from 9am to 7pm, the chief of Russias general staff, Valery Gerasimov, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Gerasimov said the decision was approved by Syrian authorities and was meant to prevent senseless casualties by allowing civilians and armed combatants to leave the rebel-held eastern part of the city.

He said eight hallways six for civilians and two for fighters could be used for this. Rebels launched a major assault on Friday to violate the siege of Aleppo but have been met the coming week by fierce resistance from regime forces.

Aleppo has been hit by some of the worst violence in Syrias five-year conflict, turning the once bustling economic hub into a divided and bombed-out city.

The Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said on Tuesday that Russia had ceased airstrikes on eastern Aleppo for 16 days, following criticism over a Russian-backed Syrian government assault that has killed hundreds of civilians and destroyed infrastructure, including hospitals.

The halt in bombing was initially proclaimed ahead of a short ceasefire that ended last month. Moscow at the time ruled out a truce extension.

Shoigu accused the US-led coalition of failing to rein in hardline rebels and said that the chances of a political settlement to the crisis was now remote.

The west has accused Moscow of committing possible war crimes in Aleppo through indiscriminate bombing to support a brutal Syrian government offensive. Moscow has been conducting a bombing campaign in Syria in support of long-time ally Bashar al-Assad since September 2015.

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