Russia’s eight-hour ‘humanitarian pause’ in eastern Aleppo is basically pointless
Russia temporarily stopped its airstrikes over eastern Aleppo on Tuesday in preparation for an eight-hour “humanitarian pause” due to start Thursday. Russian officials explained that the halt in fighting would be a chance for the wounded to seek assistance and for Russian military forces to separate moderate fighters from those it calls terrorists.
Though the pause is needed to allow humanitarian groups to deliver vital aid to those inside the besieged Syrian city, the U.N. said Tuesday that help would not be forthcoming. Assistance cannot be delivered because no side in the conflict has guaranteed aid worker safety during the upcoming pause, an assurance the UN deems necessary. “When the weapons fall silent, we need all weapons to fall silent. We need assurances from all parties to the conflict, not just a unilateral announcement that this will happen,” said U.N. humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke.
The charity Médecins Sans Frontières tweeted its response to the eight-hour pause:
— MSF International (@MSF) October 18, 2016
Despite assurances from Russia, ITV News filmed damage in Aleppo that correspondent Dan Rivers says took place the morning Russian jets were supposedly grounded:
— ITV News (@itvnews) October 18, 2016
The halt in the bombing, led by Russia in conjunction with Syrian government forces, happened to coincide with an interview between Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad and news channel Russia-24. The Syrian first lady robustly defended her husband, President Bashar al-Assad, and likened her family to others living in the war-torn country: “My family has been affected just as any other family. We are constantly saddened by the tragedies this country faces. After five years of war, I think it goes without saying that in every home in Syria there’s a sadness that pervades.”