Syrian regime advances in Eastern Ghouta, continues bombing

by Garry Watts March 3, 2018, 3:07
Syrian regime advances in Eastern Ghouta, continues bombing

Local residents of Ghouta district located in the eastern section of Syria are literally "awaiting death" as they are facing one of the strongest bombardments of its cities by government forces to flush out rebel groups holed up in Damascus and surrounding regions.

Meanwhile, top United Nations official said on Wednesday that about 40 lorries were loaded and ready to deliver relief aid to Eastern Ghouta, but fighting in the area has not stopped despite a United Nations ceasefire resolution. Mark Lowcock, the UN under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, addressing members of the UN Security Council.

Lowcock said trucks loaded with supplies have been poised to go to 10 locations since Saturday - but there has been no access for humanitarian convoys, nor authorisation by the regime to go into the besieged areas.

Even as "hundreds of rockets" from the east "had reportedly fallen on Damascus" since February 18, he said, "over 580 people" had been reported killed and "well over 1,000 injured" in government air and ground strikes on Eastern Ghouta over the same period, he said.

Lowcock also warned that delivery of aid across conflict lines to millions of people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas throughout Syria "has totally collapsed".

"The five-hour daily truce and the imposition of a so-called humanitarian corridor proposed by the Russian President is not good enough", Save the Children's Syria Response Director said on Tuesday. "The fighting must cease and aid agencies must be allowed to deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance or more children will die", said Save the Children's Sonia Khush.

The three main armed groups inside the territory, which lies within mortar range of Damascus, said they wanted more worldwide guarantees.

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Russian Federation has on several occasions asked the global community and its "Western colleagues" in the UNSC "so active on the Syrian trajectory" to evaluate the many attacks terrorists in Ghouta have conducted on its diplomatic mission over the past years. Kalin said Turkey is ready to take in civilians needing medical attention. Under the aegis of air strikes, the Syrian army took ground military action in the knot called the last stronghold of the rebels. But no civilians were seen venturing towards the regime forces guarding the checkpoint, where large portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Putin could be seen side-by-side.

"This resolution is not primarily about the evacuation of civilians, but demands humanitarian access to civilians and medical evacuations", he stressed to the council, a message repeated by Britain, France and the Netherlands.

"When will your resolution be implemented?" he asked, staring fixedly at members of the UN Security Council, who listened in complete silence.

He stressed that "any enduring pause must be preceded by an agreement of all parties for de-escalation". "What we want is a full and permanent ceasefire for all of Ghouta", he said.

Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari speaks with China's Ambassador to the U.N. Ma Zhaoxu before the start of a U.N. Security Council meeting on Syria at U.N. headquarters in NY, on February 22. During the pause, from 10:10 to 11:30, militants of illegal armed groups attempted to attack the humanitarian corridor of Muhayam-al-Wafedin three times from Eastern Ghouta ...

The United States also blamed Syria for continuing to use chemical weapons.

"What is occurring right now is greatly reminiscent of the situation around eastern Aleppo when the West rolled out a horrendous wave of anti-Russian hysteria", Nebenzia said.

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