United Nations rights council to hold urgent session on Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Saturday, 03 Mar, 2018

In the past eight months, Assad regime forces have intensified their siege of Eastern Ghouta, making it almost impossible for food or medicine to get into the district and leaving thousands of patients in need of treatment.

Reuters notes that the plan for five-hour daily pauses was immediately violated on Tuesday, the first day it was supposed to be in effect, and while a five-hour bombing pause technically occurred on Wednesday, there was "no sign of aid deliveries to the besieged area".

"I know zero humanitarian actors, who think that five hours are enough", he said.

"A Pakistani family made up of a man and his wife have been evacuated", the Kumait agency close to the rebel faction Jaish Al-Islam (Army of Islam) wrote on Twitter on February 28.

Rebels based in eastern Ghouta have intensified shelling of government-held Damascus.

He said a meeting of U.N.' s humanitarian task force for Syria earlier Thursday discussed the issue of: "Can we sit down now with Russian Federation and others and see whether we can help make this pause/initiative meet humanitarian standards for a pause and a corridor".

The Reconciliation Center has been receiving an influx of calls from the Eastern Ghouta residents with complaints about the militants violating the ceasefire and humanitarian pauses.

In January, Russia presented its own draft resolution setting up a new panel, but Western powers expressed reservations, saying Moscow's proposal would give the Syrian government an upper hand over any investigation of attacks on its territory.

Residents of eastern Ghouta say they do not trust the Russia-declared truce, and the United Nations and aid agencies have criticized the unilateral arrangement, saying it gave no guarantees of safety for residents wishing to leave.

A full ground assault followed, finally bringing Aleppo under government control in December 2016.

"We will continue asking until we are red in the face, blue in the face", said Staffan de Mistura, the UN Peace Broker for Syria.

"We can not afford to have the luxury of giving up".

"The sweeping propaganda campaign waged by Washington, blaming Russian Federation for failing to fulfill its obligations in Syria, suggests that it is not care for civilian Syrians, but a cold-blooded political premeditation that is behind it: to keep an enclave of extremists by all means in the suburb of the Syrian capital", the embassy said. On Sunday the Turkish government said the proposed United Nations ceasefire would not affect its operation, which it claims is aimed at fighting "terrorist organisations that threaten the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria".

"Otherwise, (this) becomes a copycat of Aleppo", he said.

Syrian troops told us that they are fighting one of the main opposition groups.

A spokesman for the Syrian Civil Defence volunteer rescuers, known as the "White Helmets", said access to the area had been very hard.

Egeland voiced disappointment that the countries who unanimously voted through the Security Council resolution had not been able to ensure its implementation.

"This applies both to the Assad regime's deployment of chemical weapons and for its attacks against civilians and the blockade of humanitarian support", a German chancellery statement said.