Russia extends ceasefire in Syrian airstrikes

2016-10-21 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Russia says a break in fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo has been extended for one more day. The announcement came moments after German's chancellor Angela Merkel pressed anew for a long-term ceasefire in the devastated city following her talks in Berlin with European leaders meeting in Berlin.

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:
 

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said a "humanitarian pause" in airstrikes and other attacks in the Syrian city of Aleppo has been extended for another day on the instructions of Russia's President Vladimir Putin. He added that the extension was supported by the Moscow-backed Syrian government. 

Russia already allowed a dawn-to-dusk break in fighting in Aleppo Thursday to allow both civilians and militants to leave the rebel-held districts. The announced further extension of the ceasefire came moments after German Chancellor Merkel appealed for a long term ceasefire in Aleppo when talking to reporters at the European Union summit in Brussels. "I hope that the European Council can firm up our view that what is happening with Russian support in Aleppo is completely inhuman with regards to the inhabitants of Aleppo," she said. 

"That is why there has to be work on a truce and not just one of a few hours followed by several hours of bombing but a permanent truce. And to get humanitarian aid to the people of Aleppo."

HOSTING PUTIN

Merkel hosted Putin in Berlin on the eve of the summit and, together with French President Francois Hollande, pressed the Russian leader to extend a pause in air strikes.

Hollande referred to the attacks on the civilian population as "war crimes" amid mounting Western pressure on Russia to halt its military support to President Bashar Assad's forces. 

They and Ukrainian president Petro Proshenko did agree however to work on a road map aimed at reviving the stalled peace process in eastern Ukraine, 
though details of the plan still need to be worked out. 

The conflict between Russian backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces has killed nearly 10,000 people. 

(from Vatican Radio)