Disregarding UN call for ceasefire, Syrian regime strikes Ghouta again

Posted March 01, 2018

The resolution demanding the ceasefire "without delay" was adopted as Syrian government forces pounded the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, where hundreds have died during a week-long assault.

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

"What is necessary is for the demands of the Security Council to be underpinned by concrete on the ground agreements", Nebenzia told the council after the vote.

"This truce is useless", said Hikmat Sahabi, a lawyer from Damascus. Syrian government see the 30-day ceasefire as a reprieve to the terrorists who can spread their terror activities in the country.

He said there have been no deaths reported since the resolution passed.

Jaish al-Islam, one of the two major Islamist factions in Ghouta, said fierce battles raged on along several front lines of Sunday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday appealed for an immediate end to "war activities" in eastern Ghouta, an area where nearly 400,000 people have been facing a Syrian government siege since 2013, enduring perpetual food and medicine shortages. The dead include more than 120 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said she and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation in a phone call on Sunday with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

According to a Farsi report by Tasnim News Agency, Baqeri said the Syrian army is seeking to clear its territories from terrorists in order to provide security for the people of Damascus, but so far 1,200 mortar shells have been fired at Damascus to disturb the security and calm of the people. "But those areas of Damascus suburb included in the resolution are not part of the ceasefire and cleansing will continue there".

The resolution excludes members of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked fighters.

Turkey last month launched an air-and-land military operation in the Kurdish-held enclave Afrin in northern Syria.

Several previous ceasefires have unravelled quickly in the seven-year war.

The UN resolution on Saturday followed seven straight days of bombing by pro-government forces on eastern Ghouta, in one of the bloodiest offensives of the war.

Russia's United Nations ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Thursday that the proposed resolution was "simply unrealistic".

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

"The Western Front and the supporters of terrorists were insisting that the ceasefire must be implemented".

Pope calls for immediate halt to Syria violenceVATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Sunday called for an immediate end to violence in Syria to allow aid deliveries, especially in the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, which has been hit by regime bombardment.

REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh Smoke from an air raid rises in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria February 23, 2018.

A witness in Douma said warplanes were still flying in the morning.