Attacks continue in besieged Syrian town despite Russia truce

A Russian-ordered humanitarian pause has taken effect for a second day in a rebel-held region in Syria, but no civilians have used an exit corridor to leave.

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin said that eastern Ghouta is being used by numerous terrorist groups as a base to launch attacks on the Syrian capital and other areas in the country.

Egeland said a "two-way" humanitarian corridor was needed, with several convoys each week into eastern Ghouta, while 1,000 priority medical cases must be evacuated for treatment.

President Bashar Al-Assad's ramped up offensive to restore state control in Syria has left a massive death toll with at least 550 people killed during the last eight days. The USAID government agency said there were three suspected chemical attacks by Syria in eastern Ghouta in 2018, including the alleged use of chlorine gas on February 1.

Reporters said in an Al-Ikhbariya broadcast that mortar shells had targeted the crossing, preventing civilians from leaving.

The pause came after a UN Security Council resolution called for a nationwide 30-day cease-fire that failed to take hold.

Russian Federation and Syria clashed with the USA and its Western allies Wednesday over responsibility for the failure of a cease-fire to take hold in Syria as the United Nations said humanitarian convoys are ready to head to 10 locations including besieged eastern Ghouta near the capital Damascus. As Russia intervened to defend the embattled Syrian military and its allies, which included a number of Iran-backed militias, China continued to supply weapons, and as the Syrian government reclaimed much of the country, Beijing has begun to invest in the country's reconstruction.

A UN Security Council resolution for a 30-day truce had remained a dead letter since it was passed, and Moscow, the Syrian regime's main backer, ended up setting its own terms to stem one of the worst episodes of bloodletting in Syria's seven-year-old conflict.

Russian Federation called for the daily five-hour ceasefires starting Tuesday so aid could enter Ghouta, and civilians and the wounded could leave through a "humanitarian corridor".

For four years and four months, the Syrian regime has imposed a brutal siege on the people of eastern Ghouta, denying access to goods and humanitarian assistance to and from the area.

It's was impossible for us to cross the front line in government-held Damascus to rebel-held Ghouta - so we reached a doctor there by phone.

Russian Federation had intended the truce window to allow civilians to evacuate the area, and for aid to flow in.

Boris Johnson has said the United Kingdom should "seriously consider" airstrikes in Syria if its leader is found to have used chemical weapons on civilians.

Russia's top diplomat took particular issue with "nuclear so-called sharing missions", in which one sees "non-nuclear (EU) member states taking place in the planning of the use of USA non-strategic nuclear weapons, and involved in corresponding skills training". "They will be so kind to grant us a mere five hours when they will not bomb us".

  • Joanne Flowers