The Syrian army has stopped “active military activities” against militants in the city of Aleppo, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Thursday refering to the fact that this is needed to allow civilians to withdraw from the battleground. The statement was made on the sidelines of a meeting of ministers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Lavrov made the announcement following the meeting with US State Department Secretary, John Kerry on the Syrian issue.
Another unilateral ceasefire by Syrian government forces in Aleppo has already caused a sceptical reaction among the expert community interested in the Syrian conflict. Many believe that Aleppo militants will sabotage again the withdrawal of civilians from the city because militants need the local population as a human shield against government forces and as a reason of constant diplomatic and media pressure on Syria and Russia.
Another important question raised by Syrian experts is: Was the Russian decision to push the unilateral ceasefire related to Washinton’s alleged attempts to save US inteligence and special service members from the Aleppo pocket? On Tuesday Al-Hadas news agency reportred, citing own source, that the negotiations were aimed to assist US spies, including an intelligence officer embedded with militants and an informant named Balal Abdel Karim to leave Aleppo.
However, Lavrov’s statement does not mean that the Syrian army will halt military operations. In case of active operations by Jaish al-Fatah and Fatah Halab militants, government forces will continue the offensive.
The Russian attitude over Aleppo is also could be linked to the critical situation near Palmyra where ISIS is successfully advancing against the Syrian army. If true, this is another evidence that the ISIS terrorist group coordinates its efforts in Syria with the so-called “moderate opposition” and its Western puppeteers.