UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura urged Russia to let the UN take charge of any humanitarian corridors created in Aleppo after the Assad regime offered them to the besieged civilians.
“Our suggestion is to Russia to actually leave the corridors being established at their initiative to us,” de Mistura told reporters, at a press conference in Geneva on Friday.
“The UN and humanitarian partners know what to do.”
De Mistura also echoed calls by UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien for a 48-hour truce to allow life-saving supplies into the city’s rebel-held east, which has been surrounded by pro-government forces since July 17.
“How can you expect people to want to walk through a corridor, thousands of them, while there is shelling, bombing fighting,” the UN envoy said.
Reporting from Gaziantep, on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey border, Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Jamjoom said de Mistura’s comments “echoed what we’ve heard from opposition activists up until this point.
“There are far more concerns at this hour than there are any type of guarantees.”
Assad regime offers safe passage to empty Aleppo of its citizens
More than 300.000 civilians still live in Aleppo’s opposition-controlled eastern neighborhoods, effectively under siege since the army and allied militia cut off the last road into rebel districts in early July.
Those civilians were under daily bombing for the past months that killed thousands of them. In the past few days, more than 100 civilians were killed in the city.
Assad regime’s state television quoted the governor of Aleppo as saying three humanitarian corridors would be established for civilians to leave the city.
Bashar al-Assad, who is the root cause of the Syrian crisis that killed more than 450.000 civilians, also offered an amnesty for rebels who surrender within three months.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said a fourth corridor would be set up in the north of the city for militants, near the Castello road which the army recently took over.
“On behalf of the President of the Russian Federation, today, (we will) start a large-scale humanitarian operation together with the Syrian government to help civilians in Aleppo,” Shoigu said in televised comments.