Beirut-Russia’s extension of the truce in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo for another 24 hours has not yielded any results on the humanitarian level.
There was no sign that civilians or rebels had left rebel-held east Aleppo although Moscow’s unilateral “humanitarian pause” was largely enforced on its second day.
The United Nations said medical evacuations from eastern Aleppo had not begun on Friday as it had hoped, as a lack of security guarantees and agreement with all sides prevented aid workers taking advantage of the pause in the bombing announced by Russia.
“Medical evacuations of sick and injured could unfortunately not begin this morning as planned because the necessary conditions were not in place,” said Jens Laerke of the United Nations humanitarian office OCHA.
But the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Coalition expressed surprise at how the U.N. had become “a tool in Russia’s hands.”
They said Russia was being allowed to impose its own agenda despite its clear “violations of international law.”
Opposition factions also announced that “the drums of war are rolling out” near Aleppo, saying breaking the siege of the Syrian forces was “just a matter of time.”
Meanwhile, the province of Idlib, which is under the full control of the opposition, has become the main destination for hundreds of opposition fighters and their families that are leaving the areas which fall under the Syrian regime’s forced evacuation policy.
The population of Idlib has soared to more than 2 million despite the lack of basic necessities, an activist in Idlib told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
The former deputy head of the Syrian National Coalition, Hisham Mroueh, said that the Syrian regime’s plan along with its backer Russia lies in emptying rebel-held areas and putting them in a single region.
The regime would later consider this single region a hotbed for terrorists and then carry out attacks against them, he said.