No air strikes on Aleppo in last seven days to permit civilian evacuations, claims Russia

Smoke rises from buildings in Aleppo after clashes erupted on Oct 20, 2016.
Smoke rises from buildings in Aleppo after clashes erupted on Oct 20, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Moscow said on Tuesday (Oct 25) that Russian and Syrian planes have not conducted any air strikes on Aleppo for the last seven days despite a three-day truce ending at the weekend.

"Over the last seven days, all flights by Russian and Syrian air forces have been completely halted. The planes are not going near the city and not carrying out strikes," military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement on Tuesday.

After the humanitarian pause ran out at 1600 GMT (midnight, Singapore time) on Saturday (Oct 22), air strikes hit the opposition-controlled district of Sheikh Saeed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, however.

Russia's defence spokesman said that six passages for civilians to leave rebel-held east Aleppo are still functioning and that 48 women and children left late on Monday (Oct 24).

Russia on Monday ruled out early moves to renew its ceasefire in Aleppo after the brief halt ended, admitting that few had used humanitarian passages to leave the city and blaming failures by the US-led coalition.

Ahead of the ceasefire, Russian and Syrian planes had stopped bombing on Tuesday (Oct 18) last week.

Russia is a key ally of Syria's government and began a military intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad last September.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem is set to hold talks with Russian counterpart, Mr Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow on Friday (Oct 28).