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RUSSIA: We’ll Stick to Cease Fire in Aleppo | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People walk past rubble of damaged buildings in a rebel-held besieged area in Aleppo, Syria November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

Moscow – Russia said on Monday, following days of anticipation that its air force was continuing to hold off on strikes in eastern Aleppo, unless militants launch an offensive.

“The Russian president deems a regime in which Russian air forces don’t carry out strikes on eastern Aleppo as reasonable if militants don’t start combat action,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Putin ordered an additional 10-hour “humanitarian pause” on Friday that saw Syrian forces on the ground halt fire to allow rebels and civilians to quit Aleppo.

Peskov spoke to reporters about Russia’s plan for after the ceasefire declared on November 04 is over.

“The ceasefire in the operation of the Russian air force is continuing,” Peskov confirmed.

“If the terrorists don’t resort to offensive actions, to a campaign of aggression, then the president considered it expedient for now to continue the regime, under which the Russian air force does not strike eastern Aleppo,” he said.

Many expected Russia to announce the end of airstrikes halt which was declared on October 18, after international condemnation over its bombardment of the city. Yet, seems that Moscow hadn’t decided whether to continue with the halt or not as Peskov said ceasefire could be ended if militants start combat action.

Russian Defense Ministry denied on Monday accusations that Russia bombed a school in al-Hasa in Idleb Province. The ministry’s statement was in response to Human Rights Watch report which held Russia accountable for the attack.

Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said “The Human Rights Watch publication of yet another accusation of a ‘war crime,’ which comes more than a week [after the incident] and contains some phone ‘interviews’ with seven victims as new ‘evidence,’ does not hold up to criticism and is just another information attack.”

Konashenkov added that immediately after the incident, on October 27, the Russian defense Ministry published comprehensive and absolute drone-filmed photographic facts, proving the absence of any traces of bombing at the school complex in al-Hasa.

“I would like to remind the so-called ‘human rights defenders’ from the ‘Human Rights Watch’ that the province of Idlib, including the settlement of al-Hasa, has been under the full control of al-Nusra terrorists for over a year… Moreover, there has not yet been any even indirect evidence that children were, in fact, present there at all, not only in those buildings, but in al-Hasa village in general. Therefore, one has to be an explicit liar or a madman to say that secular schools built by Assad’s government are continuing to operate on territory controlled by the Syrian branch of ‘al-Qaeda’ and under constant battle action,” said the representative of the Ministry of defense.

Meanwhile, Alexander Fomin, director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation admitted that Russia has supplied Syria with a considerable amount of hardware and weaponry, adding that no deliveries are currently underway.

“Unfortunately, there is actually no active cooperation involving our service now,” Fomin said.

Fomin concluded that the current situation in Syria is complicated, so there are no active deliveries at the moment.