Russia has announced that Russian and Syrian warplanes are halting airstrikes on the besieged city of Aleppo.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu says the airstrikes were suspended starting from 10 am (8am GMT) on Tuesday.
He says the suspension is intended to prepare for the opening of humanitarian corridors for the rebels to leave Aleppo.
Russia says its forces and the Syrian army will observe a ‘humanitarian pause’ between 8 am and 4pm on Thursday, to allow civilians and militants safe passage out of the city.
At that time, Syrian rebels, including al-Qaida militants, as well as the wounded and the sick will be allowed to leave to the neighbouring rebel-held province of Idlib.
Shoigu urged the countries wielding influence with the rebels in Aleppo to persuade them to leave the city.
UN humanitarian officials have pleaded with combatants to observe weekly 48-hour cease-fires to allow humanitarian relief into the city’s besieged eastern districts, but Russian and Syrian forces have only escalated their aerial and ground assault on the rebel-held areas in recent weeks.
The airstrikes have claimed hundreds of lives, wounded many, flattened apartment buildings and laid waste to the already crippled medical sector.