Russia has announced that Russian and Syrian warplanes are halting airstrikes on the besieged city of Aleppo.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says the airstrikes were suspended starting from 10 a.m. 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 a.m. and 4 p.m. 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 neighboring rebel-held province of Idlib.

Shoigu urged the countries wielding influence with the rebels in Aleppo to persuade them to leave the city.