The Latest: Syria rebels dismiss Putin's Aleppo initiatives

AP News
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Posted: Nov 02, 2016 6:10 AM
The Latest: Syria rebels dismiss Putin's Aleppo initiatives

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria's civil war (all times local):

12:10 p.m.

A spokesman for one of the main Syrian rebel groups in Aleppo has dismissed Russia's humanitarian pause in the city, describing it as a media stunt for "public consumption."

Yasser al-Youssef, a spokesman for the Nour el-Din el-Zinki rebel group, says Russia "is not serious" and its latest initiatives "don't concern us."

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday offered a new humanitarian pause in rebel-held parts of Aleppo, urging rebels to use it to leave the eastern districts.

Putin has ordered that the aid corridors — which Russia had opened earlier — also be open on Friday, along with two new exit routes for the rebels.

Al-Youssef said the Russian leader's comments do not reflect the reality on the ground. He says the rebels want "an international commission to check the Russian lies."

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11:30 a.m.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says other countries involved in Syrian peace negotiations have "sabotaged" the process by backing militant groups intent on toppling President Bashar Assad.

Lavrov made the remarks on Wednesday at the start of a visit to Greece, a NATO and European Union member that has maintained close ties with Russia.

He did not name any countries. Peace talks on Syria have involved U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Iran.

Lavrov's trip comes less than two weeks before a visit to Greece by President Barack Obama.

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10:40 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered a new humanitarian pause in Syria's Aleppo, urging rebels to use it to leave the eastern, besieged districts.

The defense ministry says Putin has ordered that the aid corridors — which Russia had opened earlier — also be open on Friday, for longer hours, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., along with two new exit routes for the rebels to leave eastern Aleppo.

The ministry announced Putin's new gesture in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement says the exits will be open on Friday for both civilians and rebels "in order to prevent a senseless loss of life."

It also says the rebel offensive on the Syrian government-held districts in western Aleppo that was launched last week has failed to break through the siege.