UN Security Council approves 30-day ceasefire in Syria

More than 500 people have been killed in the Damascus suburb since February 18

Syrian government forces have launched a ground and air offensive in Eastern Ghouta, witnesses said, hours after the UN Security Council voted unanimously in favour of a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria.

Russian Federation today said there was no agreement at the UN Security Council on a 30-day ceasefire for Syria and presented amendments to a draft resolution that would allow aid deliveries and the evacuation of civilians from besieged Eastern Ghouta.

Calls for a quick implementation of the truce came amid reports by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that warplanes had hit eastern Ghouta in Syria, killing at least 22 people and wounding dozens, minutes after the Security Council adopted the resolution.

"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.

The ceasefire resolution does not include militants from the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Nusra Front.

Turkey said it welcomed the cease-fire resolution but said its military would continue to fight "terrorist organizations" that threaten Syria's territorial integrity.

Iran said earlier that attacks would continue on areas near Damascus "held by the terrorists", the Tasnim news agency quoted its chief of staff as saying.

"I am deeply saddened by the bad suffering of the civilian population in Eastern Ghouta - 400,000 people that live in hell on earth", he said to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday. Syrian children cry at a make-shift hospital in Douma following air strikes on the Syrian village of Mesraba in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on February 19, 2018.


To win Russia's approval, language specifying that the ceasefire would start 72 hours after adoption was scrapped, replaced by "without delay", and the term "immediate" was dropped in reference to aid deliveries and evacuations.

Syrian regime airstrikes and artillery fire hit the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta for a sixth straight day Friday killing 38 civilians, as world powers struggled to reach a United Nations deal to stop the carnage.

About 520 people have died and more than 2,500 have been wounded in eastern Ghouta since a relentless barrage of regime rocket fire, shelling and air strikes began last Sunday.

Thousands of innocent lives have been claimed by the ongoing, bloody war, with several hundred more being added just this past week, many of whom are women, children and elderly, he said. "It will be respected neither by the regime nor Russian Federation", said Douma resident Abu Mazen.

The Security Council approved a resolution demanding a 30-day truce to allow aid deliveries and medical evacuations with the support of Syrian ally Russian Federation after a flurry of last-minute negotiations.

The two rebel groups share control of Eastern Ghouta, where Syria's former Al Qaeda affiliate is also present.

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

The cornered rebels in Eastern Ghouta have been firing back into Damascus, where six civilians were wounded on Saturday, state media said.

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