Russian warplanes on Tuesday halted their airstrikes on Syria's besieged city of Aleppo in preparation for a temporary pause in the military push that Moscow has announced for later in the week, the Russian defense minister said.
"The US and Russian Federation have a special responsibility for what is happening".
Moscow has announced an eight hour "humanitarian pause" on Thursday to allow civilians and militants safe passage out of the city.
During a meeting over the weekend co-chaired by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar said they would work to separate moderate opposition groups in Aleppo from Syria's former al Qaida affiliate once known as the Nusra Front.
A United Nations official says Russian Federation has communicated plans for a total of three eight-hour pauses in military actions in rebel-held parts of the Syrian city of Aleppo over "consecutive days" this week. "We don't have the security guarantees that we need right now".
"Since the beginning of the offensive by the regime and its allies, notably Russian Federation, the intensity and scale of the aerial bombardment of eastern Aleppo is clearly disproportionate", an European Union statement said.
Federica Mogherini, EU foreign affairs chief, called Russia's announcement "positive" but not long enough to allow humanitarian aid to reach Aleppo. But he added: "I do not yet detect a sufficient appetite in the capitals of the west, and certainly not yet in the White House, for the kind of action that I think could be useful, but, as Secretary Kerry said, nothing is "off the table".
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Once Syria's thriving commercial hub, Aleppo has been ravaged by air raids and intensifying clashes as pro-government forces fight to capture the rebel-held east.
Meanwhile, the wife of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview that her husband's foes had offered her the chance to flee Syria in order to try to shake confidence in him, but that she had not left the country since the war erupted.
Mr Laerke said it would be up to Russia to elaborate on its plans and added that the United Nations was not told in advance of the Russian announcement.
Tuesday's halt in bombing came just hours after Russian warplanes pounded Aleppo's rebel-held districts, killing a couple and their three children, the Observatory said.
Moscow announced Tuesday that Russian and Syrian air forces have stopped bombing Aleppo ahead of a brief truce, a move the Kremlin said showed "goodwill" as it faces mounting criticism for backing a brutal regime offensive. He says the suspension is meant to prepare for the opening of humanitarian corridors for the rebels to leave Aleppo.
He also urged countries that have influence on the armed groups in the eastern part of Aleppo to persuade their leaders to cease hostilities and leave the city.
Moscow had announced a temporary halt in the military push ahead of a planned eight-hour humanitarian pause on Thursday, created to give rebel militants and the injured a chance to leave the city. At that time, Syrian rebels, including al-Qaida militants, as well as the wounded and the sick will be allowed to leave to the neighboring rebel-held province of Idlib.
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