Russia has once again called upon civilians and fighters in the eastern neighbourhoods of Aleppo to leave the city by using corridors allocated for this purpose as part of a “humanitarian truce”. Two corridors have been assigned; one for civilians and another for armed fighters in the direction of Idlib and the Turkish border. The Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov announced in a televised speech that the Russian Defence Minister has decided to announce a 10 hour long truce that will begin on the 4th of November under the instruction of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It turned out later that what Gerasimov was talking about was not a truce but “the last chance for terrorists to leave”. He also claimed that “armed fighters in eastern Aleppo have lost their lives and weapons, and they do not have any opportunities to leave the city”. This statement indicates that attempts to lift the siege on the city will not succeed, and that Russia decided to approach the leaders of armed groups in Aleppo directly because the United States failed to distinguish between the opposition and “terrorist groups”. Gerasimov also asked those leaders and civilians to leave the city during the upcoming “truce”.
Gerasimov pledged that “Russian troops from the Humaimeem base and the Syrian regime’s forces will work to guarantee the security of the operation to leave the city”. He added that armed fighters are allowed to leave with their weapons in any direction that they want – either towards Idlib or the Turkish border.
Moscow’s announcement came a day after the Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov held talks with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in Moscow. The Russian Defence Ministry said that they focused on normalising the situation in Aleppo during the meeting. However, statements made by the Turkish side indicated that the talks that Gerasimov and Akar held concerning the situation in Aleppo were a failure and that Russia was relying on the Turkish role in particular to distinguish between the opposition and Al-Nusra Front.