Military strikes in the last two days have killed at least 30 people in Eastern Ghouta, the besieged suburb of Syria’s capital Damascus, where the United Nations is attempting to arrange a cease fire, UN Security Council spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Monday.
“Over the last 48 hours, military operations continue to be reported in besieged Eastern Ghouta resulting in the deaths of least 30 people including women and children,” Dujarric stated. “Attacks on Damascus from Eastern Ghouta are also continuing.”
On Saturday, the UN Security Council, including Russia, voted in for a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Eastern Ghouta suburb — a demand that appears ineffective thus far.
Since the February 19, escalating hostilities have resulted in 500 deaths and some 1,500 injuries in Eastern Ghouta, Dujarric said.
Dujarric added that during the same period 24 health facilities in Eastern Ghouta have been hit with shelling and airstrikes in addition to three humanitarian sites.
Eastern Ghouta is the last district near Damascus still controlled by rebel forces seeking the ouster of the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. On February 19, Syrian forces backed by Russian airstrikes launched the latest offensive on the enclave.
Since then, retaliatory strikes on Damascus by rebels have killed 14 people and injured 214, according to Dujarric.
Dujarric said the United Nations has convoys with relief supplies ready to enter the enclave and provide supplies as well as evacuate the injured once the fighting ceases.
Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura insists on strict implementation of a recent UN Security Council resolution on Syria in light of the latest unilateral proposals by Russia, Michael Contet, acting chief of staff of the Office of the Special Envoy, said Monday.
“We have learned about the statement by Defence Minister Shoigu today touching on various issues concerning Syria, and we are in touch with Russian interlocutors to obtain more information,” Contet said in a statement.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced earlier in the day Moscow’s proposals to establish a 5-hour daily humanitarian pause in Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta as well as to set up a UN-led international humanitarian commission to assess the situation in Syria’s Raqqa.
The official went on to urge all parties to the Syrian conflict to comply with the ceasefire regime.
“Meanwhile, we note that the provisions of Security Council resolution 2401 are clear and need to be implemented,” he said.
On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2401 urging all the conflicting sides to immediately stop all clashes and adhere to a long-term humanitarian pause on the entire territory of Syria in order to ensure the safe and unhindered humanitarian aid supplies as well as medical evacuation of those injured. However, the violations of the truce continue to take place in the crisis-torn country.
The move has followed the escalation of tensions in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta. The area, located near Damascus, is controlled by Jaysh al-Islam and other armed opposition groups as well as by Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, which is outlawed in Russia.
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