The Russian General Staff announced on Wednesday that a new humanitarian pause in combat activities will be implemented in Aleppo on Friday from 9am to 7pm local time. The pause will give non-combatants a new chance to leave the “rebel-held” pocket in eastern Aleppo and “rebels” to leave the pocket with their weapons and to move to other “rebel-held areas.
It hasn’t been part of the official announcement about the humanitarian pause and the offer that militants could evacuate. However, military logic dictates that this is a last “do or die” ultimatum before the use of decisive military force will be used against those militants who don’t leave the pocket in Aleppo.
The offer about the 10-hour-long pause comes as insurgents are engaged in a massive assault against Syrian and Syrian-allied forces west of Aleppo in a desperate attempt to lift the siege.
Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia Valery Gerasimov asserted that the decision was approved by Syrian authorities and was meant to “prevent senseless casualties” by allowing civilians and gunmen to leave the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo. Gerasimov said:
“All of the militants’ attempts to break through in the city of Aleppo have been unsuccessful. The terrorists suffered heavy losses of manpower, weaponry and military equipment. They have no chance to escape from the city” .
He also called upon all terrorist groups’ leaders to get out from Aleppo city in light of Washington’s failure to separate the so-called “moderate opposition” from the terrorists. The latter statement underpins that Syria and Russia have to, and will count on a decisive military confrontation to clear the eastern part of the city from insurgents and to reestablish Syrian sovereignty as well as law and order in the entire city.
One of the corridors for the gunmen leads to the Turkish-Syrian border and another one to Idleb countryside, the General said, adding “During Friday’s pause, six additional corridors will be opened for civilians wishing to leave the city.”
On October 20 – 22 a similar humanitarian pause was implemented. However, the evacuation of civilians was obstructed by Jabhat al-Nusrah (a.ka. Jabhat Ahrar al-Sham) and other insurgents.
nsnbc consulted with a military expert from “a leading European military academy” who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The expert stressed that the military as well as the humanitarian situation, in the absence of a political solution, dictates that eastern Aleppo be seized in a decisive battle unless insurgents use the “do or die”offer given to them.
This need for a decisive military campaign, including the use of overwhelming air power, is in part dictated by the fact that Turkey hasn’t closed its border to insurgents, including Al-Qaeda affiliates, the entry of Turkish (NATO) troops into Syria, and the need to seize control over eastern Aleppo before winter sets in to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe, he said.
Surgical air strikes against remaining insurgents inside eastern Aleppo could typically be preceded by the dissemination of information to non-combatants, encouraging them to leave certain areas while seeking refuge in others, he added. It is noteworthy that the offer to evacuate coincides with the arrival of Russian naval forces including the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in the Mediterranean.