The Assad regime and its Russian backers have agreed to suspend air raids over the embattled city of Aleppo to allow civilians and rebels to leave.

Reuters reported Moscow and Damascus had stopped short of agreeing to a second ceasefire, however, despite pressure from the Unites States and its allies. The suspension of the bombing campaign for eight hours on 20 October will allow for a humanitarian pause but will not rebels in the city an opportunity to regroup, the Kremlin has said.

Defence ministry official, Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoy, claimed rebels in Aleppo were killing civilians amid silence from their backers. Aid organisations and the international community have attacked Russia and the Assad regime for targeting civilians in Aleppo, Syria's largest city and its industrial hub before the start of the civil war.

A seven-day-long ceasefire broke down in Syria last month after Russian warplanes bombed an aid convoy destined for Aleppo from Turkey. The Kremlin claimed the convoy was targeted and set on fire by rebels.

"Given the situation, a unilateral ceasefire makes no sense, since all groups allied to it will once again be given a breather, will regroup and restore their military capability," Rudskoy said, referring to the group which was previously allied to al-Qaeda.

He added that the suspension of the bombing was "first and foremost so that civilians can move freely, for the evacuation of the sick and wounded, and also for the removal of rebels".

At least 12 civilians including five children were killed in air strikes on the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, on Monday morning (17 October) the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The attacks occurred hours after Western powers threatened Syria and Russia with economic sanctions unless they stop bombing the rebel-held city. The UK-based said the five children were killed in the Marjeh district of east Aleppo.

US Secretary of State John Kerry called the situation in the city as "the largest of humanitarian disasters". Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson added the "crimes against humanity" were occurring on a daily basis in the city.

A Civil Defence member stands as a front loader removes debris after an air strike Sunday in the rebel-held besieged al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo Abdalrhman Ismail/ Reuters