Syria has now retaken half of Ghouta: monitor

The Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room used by the United Nations Human Rights Council in the Palace of Nations
Analyst on West's Policy in Syria'Russia Has Right to Be Aggrieved Wikipedia russavia
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08 March, 2018

The United Nations says 400,000 people are trapped in the towns and villages of the eastern Ghouta, under government siege for years and already running out of food and medicine before the assault.

Bombardment and clashes in Eastern Ghouta, the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus, have persisted despite a month-long ceasefire demanded by the Security Council more than a week ago.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference, Kalın said that Turkey has mobilized all efforts to get concrete results to find a solution to the humanitarian crisis in eastern Ghouta. The current Russian offer, if accepted by the rebels, would mean the fall of the last rebel-held area near Damascus and would push rebel operations north to the border with Turkey, where the conflict with Kurdish and Turkish forces has further escalated. Vehicles would "be provided, and the entire route will be guarded", it added.

The Syrian Army troops carried out a heavy attack on terrorists' positions in the early hours of Tuesday and seized control over a main part of a key settlement in Eastern Ghouta.

Heavy air strikes battered several key towns in the zone on Wednesday, as Syria's government dispatched hundreds of pro-government militiamen to the front.

The criticism came hours after the UN Security Council failed to agree on a new draft resolution for a 30-day ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta to allow aid to get into the civilian population stuck there.

Assad said this week that the majority of people in eastern Ghouta want a return of state rule.

"All of the states of the Security Council are aware that Russian Federation was the one who doomed their Resolution, and that it is manipulating them based on a psychological unrest towards the west, and the people of Syria are paying the price for that".

In his annual report to the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the government's actions in the area are "legally and morally unsustainable", while warning that the next nightmare for Syrian civilians will inevitably arrive soon.

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The Russian military says a general was among 39 people killed in the crash of a Russian military transport plane in Syria. Initial information suggested a technical fault may have been to blame, the ministry was cited as saying.

Other civilians used the lull in air strikes to venture out from cellars to gather a few necessities from what was left of their homes.

The report also urges the worldwide community and relief groups to supply makeshift hospitals with the necessary medical equipment, especially prothesis in light of the rapid increase in amputation cases among the wounded in Syria. Also, these forces have violated Articles 7 and 8 of Rome Statute through the crime of willful killing which constitutes war crimes.

Moscow did not specify where the rebels would exit to, but the Russian defense ministry said it would set up a secure corridor through which fighters could leave along with their families and personal weapons.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged all parties to abide by a 30-day cease-fire ordered by the Security Council on February 24 to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians in desperate need. It has accused rebels of preventing people from leaving the enclave, which rebels deny. Numerous trucks were unable to fully unload their contents due to violence.

Dujarric says Guterres is calling for "safe and unimpeded access" for convoys to deliver aid to hundreds of thousands of Syrians in desperate need.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Syria has appealed to the government to commit to a ceasefire in eastern Ghouta on Thursday to let in an aid convoy containing medical supplies that were stripped from a delivery on Monday.

A missile hit a basement and released an irritating substance that led to mild symptoms, including coughing, red eyes, and sore throats among 29 people, it said.


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