Ghouta despite United Nations call, Russian truce

Marco Green
March 4, 2018

On Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Russia would introduce a daily "humanitarian pause" in Eastern Ghouta as of February 27 by the order of President Vladimir Putin.

The move was welcomed inside and outside the enclave as respite from one of the bloodiest assaults in Syria's seven-year-old war.

Five days after passing a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Syria, the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday said that nothing has changed, particularly in the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta.

Fayez Orabi, the spokesperson for the opposition's health directorate in Damascus and its suburbs, and the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, confirmed the numbers. There has been no sign of aid deliveries to the besieged area.

The Syrian regime has accused the Islamist and jihadist groups inside Ghouta of sabotaging the initiative by shelling the designated humanitarian corridors to hold civilians as human shields.

State-run Anadolu news agency quoted Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin as saying Erdogan had asked for the evacuation of around 700 people from eastern Ghouta a month ago.

"Our first demand was to bring them to Turkey, but we were informed that they were taken to the south".

Ghanem Tayara, chairman of the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM) working in Syria, said some 1,123 patients needed evacuation from eastern Ghouta, where two hospitals had been bombed since Saturday's resolution. Moscow and Damascus accuse the rebels of preventing the movement of civilians and aid across a humanitarian corridor established by the government, but the rebels deny the charges.

Western powers, however, blame the Syrian government and Russian Federation for the crisis. He claimed that the government's forces are targeting terrorists. It said rebels had inflicted heavy losses on government forces.

Feltman acknowledged that Resolution 2401 did not apply to operations against militant groups such as the Islamic State, al-Qaida and al-Nusra Front, which are trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

After a week and a half of strikes softening up the area, and killing large numbers of civilian bystanders, Syrian ground troops launched an offensive on Wednesday into the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

With the United Nations attempting to secure a cease-fire in the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta in Syria, one child has been documenting the destruction of his home.

A senior US general on Tuesday accused Moscow of acting as "both arsonist and firefighter" by failing to rein in Assad.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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