Three routes were designated for civilians and militants who decided to lay down their arms and surrender, along with a fourth marked for militants who will be able to leave the city with their weapons and equipment. "We're going to take this step only in order to ensure the safety of the residents of Aleppo," Russian Defense Minister Shoigu said, referring to the exit route for armed militants.
On Saturday, Russian officials also confirmed that 14 metric tons of humanitarian aid had already been delivered to checkpoints in Aleppo, including foodstuffs, medicines and other necessities. The checkpoints have already begun the provision of hot food and medical care for local residents.
Speaking to Radio Sputnik about the operation, Vyacheslav Matuzov, a veteran former diplomat and Middle East expert with decades of experience in the region under his belt, began by recalling that together with Damascus, Aleppo is one of the two most strategically significant cities in Syria, and home to much of the country's population. In this sense, what's going on is of prime importance in bringing the war closer to an end.
Meanwhile, the analyst noted, the combined Syrian-Russian 'humanitarian offensive' has plunged US policymakers into a state of disarray.
"The decision on a 'humanitarian offensive'…against the positions where the terrorists have taken the local population hostage has also taken the Americans by surprise, leaving them confused as to what their next step might be. Attempting to challenge or deny the humanitarian approach would be pointless."
Furthermore, Matuzov noted that once civilians are successfully evacuated, "the US will stripped of the argument that Russian aircraft are bombing only pregnant women, children and the elderly. Our approach, complete with these humanitarian overtones, serves as a very serious blow to US policy in Syria," the analyst added. The analyst clarified that ultimately, once civilians evacuate militant-held portions of the city, the Syrian Army and its allies will be able to conduct operations to liberate eastern Aleppo without the threat of the loss of civilian life.