wnol.info March 22 2018

UN's truce call fails to stop strikes

March 22 2018, 05:54 | Irvin Gilbert

Amid UN Pressure, Moscow Announces Humanitarian Corridor in Syria

UNSC scheduled to vote on worsening crisis in E. Ghouta

Clashes were reported on Sunday between insurgents and government forces in rebel-held areas near Damascus, despite the United Nations resolution demanding a 30-day nationwide truce. Warplanes have pounded the region for seven straight days while residents holed up in basements.

The United Nations says almost 400,000 people live in eastern Ghouta, a pocket of towns and farms under government siege since 2013.

Previous ceasefire deals on the ground have had a poor record of ending fighting in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's military has gained the upper hand.

In passing the resolution Saturday night, the Security Council did not make it clear when the truce should begin or which areas are covered.

Nebenzya has repeatedly argued that an immediate cease-fire was unrealistic. But the measure did not specify when the truce would go into effect, saying only it should be "without delay".

The US, Britain and other countries accused Moscow of deliberate time wasting so as to allow Mr Assad the opportunity to complete the reconquest of eastern Ghouta - a charge refuted by Russian Federation.

"In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution, how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and the shelling?" she said.

"Every minute the council waited on Russian Federation, the human suffering grew", said Washington's envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley.

"We are deeply skeptical that the (Syrian) regime will comply", Haley said.

Some 500 people are said to have been killed by government forces in the enclave since last Sunday while rebels fire on Damascus has reportedly killed at least 16 civilians. At least 520 are believed to have died, including more than 100 children, according to the SOHR.

Rebels said they clashed with government forces on several front lines in the early hours of Sunday.

Medical charities have decried attacks on a dozen hospitals.

"The Syrian insurgents said they would commit to a truce, but would respond to any violation by the Syrian government and its allies", according to Reuters. He said that the people in Damascus are truly suffering due to the acts of the terrorists positioned in the Eastern Ghouta, adding "the appeals of 8 million Syrians do not reach the General Secretariat or the mailboxes of Britain and France's representatives, but the appeals of terrorists do reach them".

A United Nations spokesman quoted Guterres as saying an immediate truce was is necessary "particularly to ensure the immediate, safe, unimpeded, and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services, the evacuation of the critically sick and wounded and the alleviation of the suffering of the Syrian people".

"We are killed by your silence", said Muhammed Najem, a 15-year-old Syrian boy who has been reporting live from Ghouta.

The resolution affirmed that the cessation of hostilities will not apply to military operations against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIL/Da'esh), Al Qaeda and Al Nusra Front.

Syrian opposition activists said that government forces used phosphorus bombs in their attacks on the suburbs, but the claims could not be independently confirmed.

According to reports, the voting on the resolution had been delayed by more than 24 hours due to disagreements between Russian Federation and other Security Council members over the wording of the resolution.

In Douma, the main town in Eastern Ghouta, fresh air raids and artillery strikes could be heard on Sunday.

"Maybe there are many more", Siraj Mahmoud, a civil defense spokesman, told the news service.

Rescuers hurry to pull people from rubble, a hard task amid the unrelenting barrage.

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