Meanwhile, self-styled calif of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on his followers to remain steadfast and stay on the battlefield.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has given the citizens and rebels left in Aleppo a 10-hour window on Friday to escape. The Guardian reported the 9 am-7 pm truce, called by the Russians a “humanitarian pause,” will allow citizens and anti-regime fighters to leave the rebel-held eastern part of the city, which has been the site of a siege and a massive bombing campaign that has all but destroyed the once-thriving city.
In a statement, Russia’s chief of general staff Valery Gerasimov, announced eight corridors – six for civilians and two for rebel fighters — had been created for escape.
The Russian bombing of Aleppo stopped 16 days ago amid worldwide condemnation of the campaign that resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths and the destruction of infrastructure, including hospitals.
The truce comes with the presumption that the bombing will begin anew Friday night.
Meanwhile, self-styled caliph of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on his followers to remain steadfast and stay on the battlefield, reported Vox.
The 30-minute audio recording – the first direct communication from Baghdadi in almost a year – comes as coalition forces have broken through to the eastern outskirts of Mosul, the Islamic State’s stronghold in Iraq’s Nineveh province.
“To all the people of Nineveh, especially the fighters, beware of any weakness in facing your enemy.” “Do not retreat…Holding your ground with honor is a thousand times easier than retreating in shame,” he says.
In the communique, Baghdadi rails against the Iranian-backed Shiite militias that joined the coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and refers to their past aggressions against Iraq’s Sunni population saying, “Don’t you learn from past mistakes? Look at their banners, their slogans.”
He also hits out against Turkey, which he calls an “apostate,” and urges attacks against Saudi Arabia. He urges fighters who have not yet made it to Syria and Iraq to go to Libya.
Unwilling to concede defeat, Baghdadi says, “This…total war and the great jihad that the Islamic State is fighting today only increases our firm belief, God willing, and our conviction that all this is a prelude to victory.”