UN hopes to build momentum for humanitarian aid in Syria if cease-fire holds – Los Angeles Times

As a cease-fire in Syria entered its third day, authorities said Wednesday that the government was to begin withdrawing forces from a strategic road in the besieged rebel-held area of Aleppo, a move that would open the way for U.N. relief shipments. 

Syrian forces, with Russian air support, closed the road in July, thereby completing the encirclement of rebel districts with a population of as many as 300,000.

A withdrawal south of Castello Road was to begin Thursday morning, according to Russian state news agency TASS. Rebel forces reportedly were to retreat simultaneously to positions north of the road.

But it remained unclear whether residents of the city would accept the sacks of flour and food baskets the United Nations hopes to deliver. For the last three days, officials have said residents want freedom, not food.

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