12:20 GMT +323 September 2017
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    Smoke billows near Castello road leading to Bani Zeid during an operation by Syrian government forces to retake control of the rebel-held district of Leramun, on the northwest outskirts of Aleppo, on July 26, 2016

    EU Urges Humanitarian Pause in Aleppo, Calls to Lift Syria-Wide Sieges

    © AFP 2017/ GEORGE OURFALIAN
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    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and humanitarian aid commissioner Christos Stylianides called on Thursday for a humanitarian pause in fighting for the contested northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Aleppo has been split between Syrian government and opposition forces occupying respectively the western and eastern districts. The parties have been assaulting each other despite the agreed ceasefire.

    "The EU calls for an immediate humanitarian pause in fighting to ensure medical evacuations and the delivery of medicine, food and water from and into Eastern Aleppo," the EU officials said in a joint statement.

    They said the eastern areas were facing starvation in a few weeks after the only road into eastern Aleppo was cut off earlier in July. The statement also called for an immediate lifting of sieges across Syria and unhindered country-wide humanitarian access.

    Earlier on Thursday, Syrian President Bashar Assad promised an amnesty to militants who would lay down arms within the next three months.

    Also earlier in the day, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow and Damacus had launched a joint large-scale humanitarian relief operation in Aleppo.

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    humanitarian aid, European Union, Aleppo, Syria
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