nsucurrent.com March 17, 2018

Turkey says UN Security Council should end 'massacre' in Syria's Ghouta

25 February 2018, 12:19 | Colleen Roy

UN unanimously demands 30-day ceasefire across Syria

UN to vote on Syria ceasefire today

On Friday, the U.N. Security Council debated a resolution a 30-day halt in bombing to allow for aid deliveries and medical evacuations.

The Security Council postponed Friday's vote for a 30-day ceasefire across the war-torn country to Saturday to allow more time for negotiations.

Russia, which backs the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is believed to have said the resolution's effectiveness is not guaranteed.

Some 500 civilians have died and hundreds other have been injured in a week of intense bombing by the Syrian government, a rights group said Saturday.

Referring to eastern Ghouta, Alan Thomlinson said: "The challenge is that this is an urban area with over 400,000 civilians stay living there; they are trapped in this cycle of violence".

The U.S. State Department called on Russian Federation to use its influence over the Syrian government to stop the killing while U.S. diplomats pushed for passage of the Security Council resolution.

The Britain-based monitor said raids hit Douma, Hammouriyeh, and other towns there on Saturday, killing 24 people. Let's do this tonight.

He said the main sticking point was over language in the first operating paragraph of the draft, which says the truce would not apply to terrorist groups including the Islamic State, al-Qaida and the Nusrah Front.

The text demands the lifting of all sieges including in Eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya and order all sides to "cease depriving civilians of food and medicine indispensable to their survival".

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Moscow does not want to specify when a truce should start.

But the vote was postponed until 1700 GMT on Saturday as Western powers bickered with Russian Federation over the wording.

Earlier this week, a United Nations official described the people of eastern Ghouta as living "in hell on earth", but Syria's ambassador to the United Nations denied the Assad regime was killing its own people. "The Syrian people can't wait".

Witnesses reported a new wave of bombs hit the enclave in Syria's eastern Ghouta district on February 23.

Turkey's presidential spokesman on Saturday called on the worldwide community to make efforts to stop the massacre in Eastern Ghouta, a besieged Damascus suburb.

Sweden's United Nations ambassador Olof Skoog told the BBC that getting aid to the Eastern Ghouta, where conditions were described by the United Nations secretary general as "hell on earth", was the main objective.

Syrian government and Russian Federation claim they only target militants.

The dire images of civilian victims bleeding to death in understaffed hospitals and the scope of the urban destruction have shocked the world and drawn comparisons with the devastating 2016 battle for Aleppo.

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