Russia said on Thursday it would support a 48-hour ceasefire in Aleppo, a move the U.N. Syria envoy said would allow aid to reach besieged areas soon, as long as all sides respect the temporary truce, Reuters reported.
As pictures of a dazed child pulled from the rubble in heavily bombarded rebel-held eastern Aleppo captured the plight of the city's civilians, Moscow said it was ready to start the first "humanitarian pause" next week.
Western diplomats gave cautious welcome to the announcement, while raising questions about Moscow's motives and stressing the United Nations must be in charge of a sustained aid operation.
U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura has long called for a 48-hour halt in fighting each week to allow aid delivery and medical evacuations from both rebel-held eastern and government-controlled western Aleppo.
He welcomed the Russian defense ministry announcement and said the U.N. humanitarian team "is now set to mobilize itself to respond to this challenge."
"Our plan is to collectively work out the operational details, and be ready for delivery as soon as possible," de Mistura's office said in a statement.