UN envoy calls for truce to deliver aid to Aleppo

The UN special envoy to Syria has called for a truce again around the city of Aleppo as activists report more deaths in fighting around the country.

Activists said 33 people were killed in fighting in Aleppo on Saturday when airstrikes targeted the city’s southern edges and intense battles raged, the AFP news agency reported.

Activists also said that 500 civilians were killed in Aleppo in the past week.

Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy, has long called for a 48-hour halt in fighting each week to allow aid delivery and medical evacuations from both rebel-held eastern and government-controlled western Aleppo.

“You may wonder what’s the good of a truce in such a terrible war. Well, I can assure you and I’ve seen it in the past that a truce can save lots of lives and is a breath of fresh air for people being besieged,” De Mistura said on Saturday.

“A truce can give the possibility for people to stop and think that it is probably best to negotiate because no one is winning and those who are losing their lives are the Syrians.”

Igor Konashenkov, Russia’s defence ministry spokesman, announced on Friday that his country was “ready to implement the first 48-hour ‘humanitarian pause’ to deliver humanitarian aid to Aleppo residents” next week.

De Mistura welcomed the move and said the UN was counting on Russia’s help to ensure “the adherence of the Syrian armed forces to the pause, once it comes into effect”.

However, most of the airstrikes that kill Syrian civilians are made by Russian air force.

Russia started its intervention in Syria about a year ago, when Assad regime was in a difficult situation after the rebels made huge advancements.

The Russian intervention tilted the balance of power and helped Assad regime to retrieve most of its lost territories, as well increasing the brutality of attacks and killing more civilians.

The UN estimates that about 450.000 civilians were killed since the start of Syrian crisis.