Russia extends Aleppo truce

GENEVA – Russia has told the United Nations it will stop bombing eastern Aleppo for 11 hours a day for four days, but that is not enough to trigger a wider ceasefire deal under which militants would leave the Syrian warzone, the UN said on Thursday.

The Syrian military says a unilateral ceasefire backed by Russia had come into force to allow people to leave eastern Aleppo, a move rejected by rebels who say they were preparing a counter-offensive to break the blockade.

“They (the Russians) have said 11 hours per day and four days from today, Thursday,” UN Syria humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland told reporters.

“We hope it can be four days from tomorrow Friday.

“They are considering that additional day,” he said, noting that Russia had originally announced an eight-hour pause, but the UN had objected that it was too short to evacuate wounded and bring in assistance.

Russia did not announce the four days of pauses. But its defence ministry said President Vladimir Putin had ordered the first 11-hour pause, which was due to expire on Thursday afternoon, to be extended for a further 24 hours.

In New York, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pushed on Thursday for the 193-member General Assembly to hold a rare emergency special session on Syria since a deadlocked Security Council has failed to take action to end the nearly six-year war.

In Brussels, European Union leaders were considering a draft text on Thursday that would condemn the attacks by the Syrian and Russian military and threaten further sanctions on individuals and entities if they continue.

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