The United States pressed Russia to use its “influence” to secure an “immediate” full-fledged halt to a bloody offensive in the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta.
“The Syrian regime, and its Russian and Iranian backers, continue to attack east Ghouta, a densely populated suburb of Damascus, despite the ceasefire called for by the United Nations Security Council,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert tweeted on Monday.
“The regime claims it is fighting terrorists, but is instead terrorizing hundreds of thousands of civilians with airstrikes, artillery, rockets, and a looming ground attack. The regime’s use of chlorine gas as a weapon only intensifies the misery of the civilian population.”
“The United States calls for an immediate end to offensive operations and urgent access for humanitarian workers to treat the wounded and deliver badly needed humanitarian aid,” Nauert added.
Assad regime forces and their allies continued to pummel eastern Ghouta despite the UN Security Council adoption of a resolution calling for a 30-day truce that has been a dead letter since it was passed on Saturday.
In emailed comments, Linda Tom, a UN humanitarian spokeswoman in Damascus, told Reuters that “the United Nations has mobilized and is ready to immediately support life-saving aid convoys to several areas in eastern Ghouta as soon as conditions allow, as well as hundreds of medical evacuations.”
Military operations have killed at least 30 people, including women and children, in besieged eastern Ghouta in the last 48 hours, Tom added.
Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee, Yasser Farhan, said that putting an end to mass forced displacement operations in Syria must be a priority of the United Nations. He stressed that the UN, which is leading the political process and negotiations in Syria, should prioritize the return of all those who were forcefully displaced from to their homes across Syria.
Farhan was speaking during a side event at the 37th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva on Monday to discuss the mass forced displacement and demographic change operations in Syria. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)