DAMASCUS: Syrian government forces launched a fresh ground and air assault against the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, hours after the resolution was approved unanimously,
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had unanimously approved a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance. The resolution does not apply to an action against a range of militant groups operating in the country.
The motion was introduced into the council by Sweden and Kuwait on Thursday, expressing an urgent need for a ceasefire in Syria within 72 hours. It failed to pass due to concerns expressed by Russia, which holds veto power. The initial draft said that action against Islamic State (IS) group, Al-Qaeda and the Nusra Front would not constitute a violation of the ceasefire.
Moscow had demanded changes to the draft, arguing groups that are known to cooperate with them must also be exempted from the truce. The final resolution accepts that action may continue against “individuals, groups, undertakings and entities” who are associated with the aforementioned groups. There is no agreement over when the ceasefire will take effect.
All parties are required by the resolution to lift sieges of populated areas immediately such as eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya.
Close to 500 people have died in the Eastern Ghouta region in the last week due to bombardment by Russia-backed Syrian government forces.
The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, blamed Russia for stalling the resolution’s approval.
“In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution, how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and the shelling?” she said.
Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia decried what he described as propaganda regarding the situation in Eastern Ghouta. The Syrian government says that actions in Eastern Ghouta are aimed at targeting “terrorists.” Syrian government’s use of the term includes jihadist groups such as former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and rebel forces.