Russia casts doubt on UN Syria truce deal

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

Smoke and dust are seen following a reported regime air strike in the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on February 21, 2018. Sweden and Kuwait were looking for a vote ordering a 30- day cease-fire to make an easy passage for relief agencies to offer aid and evacuate the critically sick and injured from beleaguered areas to receive medical facilities. Staffan de Mistura renewed his call on Friday to stop both the "horrific" bombing of besieged eastern Ghouta and indiscriminate mortar shelling on Damascus.

"At this time, it is especially urgent for the Security Council to uphold its responsibility to bring about a political settlement on Syria in accordance with resolution 2254 under United Nations auspices", he said. "This is a well-known method of information warfare".

A slightly amended text was circulated to council members, but it was unclear whether Russian Federation would support the measure.

Eastern Ghouta has been under siege for five years and humanitarian access to the area, which is home to 400,000 people, has been completely cut off. Hundreds of thousands are in urgent need of medical attention.

Negotiations were continuing to avoid a Russian Federation veto of the text that would establish a truce to allow humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations.

Lavrov's comments, made during a two-day official visit to Serbia's capital, come as the Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting later today on the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

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In remarks after the session, Syria's ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, said accusations by the United States, Britain, and France - which he called the "three musketeers" - that the Syrian government was indiscriminately bombing civilians were completely false.

Turkey's military said Friday it hit a convoy carrying weapons and ammunition in the countryside of a Kurdish-held enclave in northern Syria. He said the Security Council needs a "feasible" agreement, questioning how it would be enforced and whether the aid operation could reach civilians. "The European Union is running out of words to describe the horror being experienced by the people of eastern Ghouta". Another resident, in the town of Hamouriyeh, said the assault had continued "like the other days". According to the Syrian Center for Human Rights Watch, 416 civilians, including 95 children, have died since the start of the campaign. "This would draw tears from a rock", said the 50-year-old, who was escorting a wounded person to hospital. She was number 20.

He said rescuers carried a young boy wounded in the eye, blood trickling down his face, to one of the town's hospitals.

Assad has been committing war crimes with support of the Russians, he claimed.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called a 30-day ceasefire unrealistic and said it couldn't be enforced.

Russian Federation had called for the emergency meeting to discuss what is being considered the most vicious string of airstrikes in the seven years of the civil war. "It limits Turkish strategic options".

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