GENEVA, 25th August 2016 (WAM) — U.N. officials said Thursday they received word from Russia that it supports a 48-hour pause in fighting in and around Syria’s largest city so that humanitarian aid can be delivered to its increasingly embattled population.

In a news briefing, Jan Egeland, who heads up humanitarian aid in the office of the U.N. Syria envoy, said “We are ready” and the U.N. now awaits assurances and written authorisation from the other involved parties before any aid convoys can go through to Aleppo amid an upsurge in fighting that has left the city nearly surrounded by Russian-backed Syrian troops.

Egeland was quoted by the AP as saying that Russia backs a three-point U.N. plan that is to involve separate road convoys of aid delivered both from Damascus and across the Turkish border through the critical Castello Road artery into Aleppo, and a mission to southern Aleppo to help revive a damaged electric plant that powers crucial pumping stations that supply water for 1.8 million people.

The U.N. special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said he planned to wait until after an expected meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva this week to discuss Syria and other issues.

WAM/MMYS