Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Chances slim for any breakthrough in Damascus' Eastern Ghouta humanitarian pause

Fighters with Failaq al Rahman firing their weapons during clashes with government forces in the suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus. | AP Fighters with Failaq al Rahman firing their weapons during clashes with government forces in the suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus. | AP
| 03 March, 2018, 00:43

The Observatory said Turkish warplanes attacked pro-Syrian government forces overnight in Afrin, killing at least 17 people, including militias that support Assad and which entered Afrin last week to help repel the Turkish offensive.

The United Nations says continued fighting in and around eastern Ghouta makes relief operations there impossible.

The attacks carried out by the Assad regime and its supporters in Eastern Ghouta have killed 127 children in the past 12 days, according to the White Helmets civil defense group's report.

UN Security Council Resolution 2401 was adopted unanimously on Saturday, which calls for a 30-day cease-fire in Eastern Ghouta to allow the delivery of badly-needed humanitarian aid.However, Russia and the Syrian regime continue shelling the city despite the UN call.

"Both agreed that the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are urged to promptly and fully implement" a UN Security Council resolution that calls "for a prompt ceasefire in Syria", said the statement.

Egeland, who heads humanitarian aid matters in the office of the UN Syria envoy, said the Russian plan for the five-hour pauses was "positive" but insufficient.

He stressed that the catastrophe unfolding in Eastern Ghouta "is no tsunami".

Ms Bassoul said the humanitarian situation was dire with civilians lacking food and medical supplies in one of the "worst situations" seen in Syria for years.


The analysis released Thursday appears to reflect the ferocious fighting that has occurred in the suburb over the past month.

A full ground assault followed, finally bringing Aleppo under government control in December 2016. So any type of feeling that the United Nations is frustrated: "Forget it", he said.

"A concrete humanitarian corridor has been set up that will be used to deliver humanitarian aid, and, in the other direction, a medical evacuation can take place and all civilians who want to leave can", Lavrov told a joint news conference in Moscow after meeting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

He added: "Otherwise, this becomes a copycat of Aleppo".

US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone call also said they "urge Russian Federation to end its involvement in the bombing of Eastern Ghouta and to persuade the Assad regime to stop its offensive operations against civilian areas", according to a chancellery statement.

Peter Salama, Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Programme at the World Health Organization, attends an interview with Reuters in Geneva Thomson Reuters GENEVA (Reuters) - Eight-four patients including children in eastern Ghouta are the top priority for medical evacuations among 1,000 sick and wounded needing treatment in the besieged Syrian enclave, a senior World Health Organization official told Reuters on Friday.

Syrian state news agency SANA said on Wednesday that some shells had landed near the corridor but reported no injuries.

The daily pauses began on Tuesday but so far, no humanitarian aid has gone in - and no civilians have left the area, except for an elderly Pakistani man and his wife who were evacuated from the town of Douma on Thursday.

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