Russia accuses US-led coalition strike of killing 6 in Syria

MOSCOW: The Russian military said a U.S.-led coalition airstrike on a Syrian village in the province of Aleppo has killed six civilians.

The military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria said Tuesday’s strike on the village of Hassajek also wounded four people and destroyed two houses.

Russian military surveillance spotted two Belgian F-16 fighter jets over the area at the time of the strike, the center said late Tuesday. It said Russian and Syrian warplanes weren’t flying over the area that day.

Russia’s Tass news agency reported from Brussels that the Belgian defense minister denied Belgian aircraft had struck the area.

Russia said Russian and Syrian warplanes halted their airstrikes on the besieged city of Aleppo, in preparation for a temporary pause in the military push that Moscow has announced for Thursday.

Russian officials said the “humanitarian pause” should allow civilians and militants safe passage out of the city.

The Russian offer comes after a proposal by the U.N. Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, to allow al-Qaida-linked militants to leave Aleppo in exchange for a truce and a local administration for the eastern districts. Rebels there, along with many residents, have rejected the offer.

Russia’s announcement did not include any promises of an extended cease-fire or a local administration in and around Aleppo.

The move follows the collapse of a U.S.-Russian-brokered cease-fire that lasted less than a week and collapsed amid renewed fighting in Aleppo.

Moscow has blamed Washington for the failure to deliver on its pledge to encourage Syria’s Western-backed rebels to sever ties with al-Qaida militants.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the proposed break should make that happen.

“There is not a single reason not to complete the separation,” she said at a briefing. “In the nearest time we must witness moderate opposition severing ties with terrorists.”