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    Aleppo Humanitarian ‘Air Bridge’ Needs Government Agreement - Lavrov

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    Russian Foreign Minister said that proposed "air bridges" to airlift relief aid to Syria’s northern city of Aleppo need to be agreed with the nation’s government.

    YEKATERINBURG (Sputnik) The proposed "air bridges" to airlift relief aid to Syria’s northern city of Aleppo need to be agreed with the nation’s government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

    "It takes a great effort to bring humanitarian aid there by land. It is insufficient. I’ve already given our assessment of how realistic it is to airdrop aid…But, in any case, those who will take up this task will have to coordinate their actions with the [warring] sides, primarily with the Syrian government," Lavrov said.

    Speaking at a press conference with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Russia’s Yekaterinburg, Lavrov underscored that airdrops to Aleppo could end up in the hands of militants.

    "The situation in Aleppo keeps changing. We think there is a huge risk that weather conditions, like wind, and the constant alterations in the configuration on the ground will leave humanitarian cargo in the hands of terrorists, rather that those who they really are meant for, and serve to strengthen their position," the Russian top diplomat stressed.

    Lavrov admitted, however, that three-hour humanitarian ceasefires that have been taken place daily in Aleppo were not enough to meet the needs of civilians trapped in this divided city.

    "Of course, it is not enough," he agreed. "To make these pauses last, we need to resolve all the outstanding issues… We agreed with the United States in the past to declare 72-hour ‘regimes of calm' that slightly improved the humanitarian situation, but these pauses mainly allowed terrorists to swell their ranks by 7,000 more fighters, as well as restock weapons and ammo."

    Turkey and Russia share an understanding that additional measures must be taken in order to implement the resolution on Syria border control, Russian Foreign Minister said.

    "The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2165 at our initiative, which notes the need to establish control over the supply of humanitarian goods from Turkey, particularly through the so-called Castello road. And with permission from the Turkish government, two checkpoints on Turkish ground were outlined, where the UN would establish monitoring presence. UN personnel have been stationed at one of these checkpoints, the other one has yet to open," Lavrov told reporters.

    "We share an understanding with the Turkish side that there is a need to take additional measures for this resolution to be fully and effectively implemented," he added.

    Militant leaders in eastern Aleppo are preventing civilians from fleeing the city through the recently established humanitarian corridors, Sergei Lavrov said.

    "Today, we have discussed Aleppo a lot, we have a similar understanding of how serious the situation is. We, together with the Syrian government forces, proposed and created six corridors for the evacuation of the civilian population, those wishing to leave the area, and one corridor was created for fighters who are willing to leave unharmed under the guarantee of the Syrian government and the Russian Federation. Unfortunately, the militants, the leaders of the militants, who are running the show in eastern Aleppo, are preventing the evacuation of their allies and civilians," Lavrov said, speaking at a press conference with his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in Russia’s Yekaterinburg.

    He added that Russia, like the West and countries in the region, hopes that the situation for the civilians in Aleppo improves.

    "We hope that the participation of Russia and the US and other Western countries, and not only Western, but also countries in the region, with the participation of the UN, we will be able to ease the [living] conditions for the civilian population," the Russian minister said.


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