Europe

Russia announces humanitarian operation in Aleppo

  • FILE - In this Saturday, June 18, 2016 file photo, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visits the Hemeimeem air base in Syria. Shoigu said Thursday, July 28, 2016, Moscow is sending a top general and experts to Geneva at request of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the crisis surrounding the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service pool photo via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Saturday, June 18, 2016 file photo, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visits the Hemeimeem air base in Syria. Shoigu said Thursday, July 28, 2016, Moscow is sending a top general and experts to Geneva at request of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the crisis surrounding the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service pool photo via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 file photo, smoke rises over Saif Al Dawla district, in Aleppo, Syria. Russia and the Syrian government will open humanitarian corridors in Syria's embattled city of Aleppo and offer a way out for opposition fighters wanting to lay down their arms, Russia's defense minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo, File)

    FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 file photo, smoke rises over Saif Al Dawla district, in Aleppo, Syria. Russia and the Syrian government will open humanitarian corridors in Syria's embattled city of Aleppo and offer a way out for opposition fighters wanting to lay down their arms, Russia's defense minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, speaks about the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)

    Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, speaks about the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, July 28, 2016. (Martial Trezzini/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says Russia and the Syrian government will open humanitarian corridors and offer a way-out for Islamic State fighters wanting to lay down their arms.

Syrian government forces and allied troops have tightened the noose on the main rebel enclave in the city of Aleppo, urging fighters there to surrender. Humanitarian groups have warned of a major catastrophe if the siege on the rebel-held parts of Aleppo continued.

Shoigu said in televised comments Thursday that President Vladimir Putin has a "large-scale humanitarian operation" that will be launched outside Aleppo to "help civilians who were taken hostage by terrorists as well as fighters who wanted to lay down the arms." Shoigu mentioned three humanitarian corridors as well as food and first aid points outside the city.