United Nations asks Syria to ensure truce for Thursday Ghouta aid convoy

A boy watches as an aid convoy of Syrian Arab Red Crescent drives through the besieged town of Douma in eastern Ghouta on Monday

The council is expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the air strikes and clashes in the Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta that have continued despite a ceasefire demanded by the top United Nations body ten days ago.

France and Britain have requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the failure of the 30-day ceasefire to take hold in Syria, diplomats said Tuesday.

The Syrian Observatory on Human Rights said that hundreds more pro-government fighters had been deployed to front lines, tightening the noose around the shrinking rebel enclave.

The report outlines the most notable violations by Syrian regime/Russian forces in the region of Eastern Ghouta from when Security Council Resolution 2401 was adopted on the evening of 24 February, 2018, until the evening of March 6, 2018, ranging from killings and targeting vital civilian facilities to the use of prohibited weapons.

Gen Yevtushenko said the Russian military were prepared to evacuate more than a thousand sick and wounded persons, but the militants disrupted this opportunity.

The Russia-backed Syrian army and allied militia began a campaign on February 18 to retake the last opposition bastion near Damascus with devastating aerial bombing.

According to the report, Syrian-Russian alliance forces have killed 329 civilians, including 57 children and 29 women (adult female). Rebel shelling on Damascus has killed dozens of people during the last two weeks, state-run media has said.

The state-affiliated al-Ikhbariya TV station on Wednesday broadcast live shots from the region, showing dense columns of smoke rising above the town as rockets could be heard flying overhead.

The Syrian rebel-controlled Damascus suburb has been cut off from the world by the Assad regime and Russian Federation.

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They added that it was the eighth suspected chlorine attack on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta in the past two months.

An official with the International Committee for the Red Cross says aid workers who were on a humanitarian mission inside eastern Ghouta saw rescuers trying to pull corpses from the rubble of buildings.

Moscow and Damascus say the Ghouta campaign is necessary to halt rebel shelling of the capital.

Although 46 aid trucks entered the area on Monday for the first time since the offensive started, they had cut short their deliveries due to heavy bombardment.

The offensive has been backed by Russian Federation, the government's key military ally.

"Regime forces control more than 50 percent of Ghouta", said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring organisation. The proposal echoes previous agreements under which insurgents, in the face of military defeat, were permitted to withdraw to opposition-held areas at the Turkish border.

"The reports could not be independently confirmed", the AP notes, "and Russian Federation used its Security Council veto to freeze the work of a United Nations body investigating such reports earlier this year".

The government should "commit to cease fire throughout the area of eastern Ghouta during the entry of the humanitarian convoy, and during its presence in the area".

Meanwhile, Turkey called on the United States to prevent USA -backed Kurdish forces from sending fighters deployed against the Islamic State group to shore up Kurdish forces battling a Turkish offensive in an enclave in northwest Syria.



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