War in Syria continues despite UN-demanded ceasefire

by Garry Watts March 1, 2018, 2:39
War in Syria continues despite UN-demanded ceasefire

According to the passed resolution, the United Nations "demands that all parties cease hostilities without delay and engage immediately to ensure full and comprehensive implementation of this demand by all parties, for a durable humanitarian pause for at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria, to enable the safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded, in accordance with applicable worldwide law".

It calls for a 30-day ceasefire in the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta.

In the eastern suburbs of Damascus, a region called Eastern Ghouta, almost 500 people have been killed in a deadly escalation by the Syrian government that began Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told The Associated Press.

"This has been the calmest night since last Sunday", a spokesperson for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the day after the resolution passed.

"In these days my thought is often turned to the beloved and martyred Syria, where the war has exploded again, especially in Eastern Ghouta", the Pope said February 25, noting that this month marks one of the most violent since the Syrian conflict erupted seven years ago.

In another concession to Russian Federation, the resolution said the ceasefire will not apply to operations against the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda, along with "individuals, groups, undertakings and entities" associated with the terror groups.

/ AFP PHOTO / Hamza Al-AjwehHAMZA AL-AJWEH/AFP/Getty Images Member of the Syrian Civil Defense group carries a boy who was wounded during airstrikes and shelling by Syrian government forces, in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria.

Few of Eastern Ghouta's almost 400,000 residents - mostly living in a scattering of towns across the semi-rural area east of the capital - ventured out on Friday. The U.K. -based monitoring group said Sunday's bombing was less intense than attacks over the past week.

Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years, which has brought the district to the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.

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Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta was "dire" and insisted that hospitals and schools be demilitarized, indicating that Islamist rebels were using them to hide and store weapons. The Syrian military made no comment.

Mr Abdel Rahman said there were also clashes in the south of the area between regime forces and fighters from the Jaish Al Islam rebel group.

On the key issue of a ceasefire, the resolution "demands that all parties cease hostilities without delay for at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria for a durable humanitarian pause, to enable the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid and services and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded. and demands that all parties engage to this end".

More than 460 civilians, including over 100 children, have been killed in almost a week of bombardment that has been one of the seven-year conflict's bloodiest episodes.

In a bid to get Russian support, sponsors Kuwait and Sweden amended the draft resolution late on Friday to drop a demand that the ceasefire take effect 72 hours after the resolution's adoption.

Control of Eastern Ghouta is shared between two main factions, while Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate is also present.

Iran, whose Revolutionary Guards and militiamen are fighting alongside Assad's forces, said both it and Syria would respect the United Nations resolution.

Syria's northern neighbour had previously been a staunch supporter of rebel groups fighting government forces.

Syrian state media said Ghouta insurgents shelled parts of Damascus.

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