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UN, U.S. Question Russian 'Humanitarian' Plan For Syria's Aleppo

The UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura
The UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura

The United States and United Nations have raised questions and concerns over what Russia says is a planned humanitarian operation in the embattled northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government announced on July 28 that they would open humanitarian corridors around Aleppo to allow civilians and surrendering fighters to leave.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 29 that if the planned Russian plan in Aleppo is a ruse, it risks disrupting U.S.-Russian efforts to achieve a political solution to end the five-year Syrian civil war.

The UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on July 29 urged Russia to leave the creation of any humanitarian corridors in Aleppo to the United Nations and its partners.

He said he is awaiting clarification from Russian authorities about that plan, noting the urgent situation in the northern city, which has been wracked by violence in recent months.

The envoy also warned that "the clock is ticking for the Aleppo population."

"How do you expect people to walk through a corridor -- thousands of them --while there is shelling, bombing, fighting?" de Mistura said.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said on July 29 that Russia's operation in Aleppo is solely humanitarian.

"We are ready to do everything we can to deliver aid to peaceful citizens who are hostages of the terrorists, and even to those militants who wish to lay down arms," Antonov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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