tiptrot.com June 24, 2018

Pope calls for immediate halt to Syria bombardments

01 March 2018, 02:36 | Bernice Figueroa

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

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

Turkey, too, said its military operations in another theatre of war in the north of Syria would not be affected by the unanimous Security Council vote demanding the truce to allow for aid access and medical evacuations.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the fresh eruption of conflict in the area, which began February 18, has so far left more than 500 civilians dead, of whom 121 are children.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said air strikes that hit several suburbs left 22 people dead in different areas, including 10 in the suburb of Douma.

However, the resolution made one notable exception to the ceasefire: It allowed continued action against the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, A1-Nusra Front and other terrorist organisations.

Iranian General Mohammad Baqeri, whose government backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Tehran and Damascus would respect the United Nations resolution.

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

"I know speaking to colleagues inside eastern Ghouta that they are living in constant fear and they are anxious that the next bomb might hit their home and kill their family".

While Syrian ally Russia supported the adoption of the UN resolution, Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia cast doubt on its feasibility. "One can not fight evil with another evil".

"Every minute this council waited on Russian Federation, the human suffering grew", she said right after the unanimous vote was taken.

"These governments should also recognize that the strategic schemes to divide Syria and to change the governing system in it by force and to guarantee the continuity of terrorism and the illegal military presence on our territories will not succeed", he said.

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.

After several days of delay and last-minute negotiations to win the support of Russian Federation, the council adopted the resolution - drafted by Sweden and Kuwait - demanding hostilities cease for 30-days "without delay" to allow aid access and medical evacuations.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, called for the ceasefire to be implemented immediately but said she was sceptical that Syria would comply.

In Douma, the main town in Eastern Ghouta, residents woke to the sounds of fresh air raids and artillery strikes on Sunday morning, an Agence France-Presse correspondent in the town said.

The two major rebel factions in Eastern Ghouta welcomed the United Nations resolution.

Syrian state media outlets reported that rebels fired mortar shells on Damascus, Assad's seat of power, killing at least one person and wounding seven.

The cease-fire is meant to allow emergency aid to be delivered and medical evacuations to take place in some of the country's hardest-hit regions, such as Ghouta, the rebel-controlled eastern suburb of the capital, Damascus, which has been pounded by government warplanes for more than a week.

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