United Nations calls for 30-day ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta


The global medical organization Doctors Without Borders said 13 hospitals and clinics that it supports have been damaged or destroyed over the past three days. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), another medical NGO, said that eight facilities it assists were hit. Most buildings have either been damaged or destroyed.

"The humanitarian, social and economic situation in Eastern Ghouta is deliberately exacerbated by the leaders of the al-Islam, Failak Ar-Rahman and Jabhat al-Nusra illegal armed groups", Maj.

The Violations Documentation Center, an advocacy group, said hospitals were being targeted with different weapons to those used elsewhere in Ghouta, the Guardian reported. "During writing this message to you more than 20 rockets have fell around us", he added.

The UN Security Council is due to vote on the 30-day ceasefire resolution on Friday as diplomats in NY said they were "almost there" in their bid for a deal with Russian Federation on a truce. "This nightmare in East Ghouta must end and must end now". One of the few rebel-held territories, the Damascus suburb has been under a siege and bombed from the air by the Syrian government forces.

Russian Federation has been pressing for a negotiated withdrawal of rebel fighters and their families like the one that saw the government retake full control of second city Aleppo in December 2016.

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Regime-backer Moscow has demanded "guarantees" that the truce would be respected by rebel fighters, and Kuwaiti Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi, who holds the council presidency this month, insisted diplomats "are very close". Russia, however, has reportedly refused the suggestion, according to the monitoring group.

The Russian military accused the terrorists of deliberately subverting the negotiation progress and attempting to provoke government forces to respond.

Rescuers in Syria's eastern Ghouta say the bombing hasn't let up long enough for them to count the bodies, in one of the bloodiest air assaults of the seven-year war. The SOHR did not specify when such an operation would begin. "This would draw tears from a rock", said the 50-year-old, who was escorting a wounded person to hospital.

However, it remains unclear as to where East Ghouta's residents would escape to.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved a resolution demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded.

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That would allow the Syrian government offensive to continue against Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Idlib, the last province in Syria outside the control of Damascus.

After delaying the vote twice on Friday, the Security Council scheduled a vote for Saturday at noon.

The key point of contention that held up the resolution since it was formally introduced by Kuwait and Sweden on Wednesday was the timing of when the ceasefire should start.

Speaking in the Council after the vote, United States Permanent Representative Nikki Haley lashed out at Russian Federation saying that during the time it held up the resolution to change a "few words and some commas", mothers lost their children to bombing and shelling. Russia's proposed amendments, according to the Associated Press, called on parties to "stop hostilities as soon as possible", and "work for an immediate and unconditional de-escalation of violence" and a 30-day "humanitarian pause".

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