On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking in Hamburg on the sideline of OSCE meeting, announced that Syrian government forces have suspended “active military activities” against militants in eastern Aleppo to enable the withdrawal of civilians from the city. Lavrov added that it had been agreed that Russian and US military experts would meet in Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday. Lavrov also met with his US counterpart John Kerry, and later in the day held a telephone call with him. Russian Foreign Minister also said that Based on the US side’s declared readiness to facilitate the withdrawal of militants from that city, the sides agreed to look into practical details of this process.
According to Russian Defense Ministry, Syrian governmental forces have taken control of 52 percent of eastern Aleppo and are now in control of over 30 of the city’s neighborhoods. The Ministry added that the Syrian army is still successfully advancing in eastern Aleppo, seized a neighborhood occupying three square kilometers over the past 24 hours. A convoy of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria has delivered more than 150 tonnes of humanitarian aid to residents of eastern Aleppo. A sea transport has delivered a total of 280 tonnes of articles of daily necessity, including food.
Syrian rebels in besieged east Aleppo have agreed to a U.N. plan for aid delivery and medical evacuations, but the United Nations is awaiting a green light from Russia and the Syrian government, humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said on Thursday. “We do now have written approval in principle by the armed opposition groups of east Aleppo,” he told reporters, specifying that he was referring to rebels with whom the U.N. is in contact – and do not include former Nusra Front militants. “We have verbal support also from the Russian Federation on our four-point plan. We need written support and we need unconditional support also from Russia and we are still waiting for the answer from the government of Syria”, he added.
On Thursday, during a press briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova reported that about 6,000 gunmen are trying to fight their way towards eastern Aleppo. According to Russian authorities, in Aleppo, Jihadists are attacking from southwest continuing their attempts to force the corridor towards eastern neighborhoods of the city. The tactical direction carried out by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (former Jabhat al-Nusra) through the central headquarters. Zakharova also asserted that the Russian-US agreement on Syria remains in force and no one has abolished it and the work needs to be continued.