Death toll in Syria enclave tops 500 after UN delays truce vote

The Britain-based monitor of the war said at least 32 civilians were killed in Saturday's strikes, including eight children. A night of heavy bombardment sparked fires in residential districts, it said.

AFP
Douma (Syria), Publish Date: Feb 25 2018 12:12AM | Updated Date: Feb 25 2018 1:27AM
Death toll in Syria enclave tops 500 after UN delays truce vote

New air strikes on the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta today took the civilian death toll from seven days of devastating bombardment to more than 500 after the United Nations again delayed a vote on a ceasefire. 

A total of 127 children figure among the 510 dead in the bombing campaign that the regime launched last Sunday on the enclave just outside Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Britain-based monitor of the war said at least 32 civilians were killed in Saturday's strikes, including eight children. A night of heavy bombardment sparked fires in residential districts, it said. 

The Observatory has said the air strikes are being carried out by Syrian and Russian forces. Moscow, which intervened militarily in support of its Damascus ally in 2015, has denied any direct involvement in the Eastern Ghouta bombardment. US President Donald Trump on Friday said Russia's recent actions in Syria were a "disgrace". The UN Security Council had been due to hold a vote on Friday on a resolution calling for a month-long ceasefire to allow aid deliveries and the evacuation of seriously wounded civilians. But the vote was postponed until 1700 GMT on Saturday as Western powers bickered with Russia over the wording. Turkey urged the international community to end the bloodshed in Eastern Ghouta. 

"The world should say stop to this massacre," Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan's spokesman said on Twitter. Control of Eastern Ghouta is shared between two main Islamist factions, while Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate is also present, and Russia insists there can be no ceasefire with the jihadists or their allies. Russia has been pressing for a negotiated withdrawal of rebel fighters and their families like the one that saw the government retake full control of second city Aleppo in December 2016. But all three rebel groups have refused. World leaders have expressed outrage at the plight of civilians in Eastern Ghouta, which UN chief Antonio Guterres called "hell on earth", but have so far been powerless to halt the bloodshed. 

The enclave is completely surrounded by government-controlled territory and its 400,000 residents are unwilling or unable to flee the deadly siege. In one of the many unfolding dramas at a Douma field hospital, a young woman amputated from the knee breastfed a 40-day-old infant who had lost his entire family in the bombings.

"She doesn't know yet that her own daughter has been killed," a nurse said. Food supplies have been running dry, with bread no longer available on local markets. "I haven't eaten since the day before yesterday," said a mother in a shelter with her two children in Douma, Eastern Ghouta's main town. "They haven't stopped crying for three days." The cornered rebels in Eastern Ghouta have been firing back into Damascus, where six civilians were wounded on Saturday, state media said. Around 20 people have been killed in eastern districts of the capital since Sunday, according to state media, and many residents have sought temporary accommodation elsewhere for fear of a further intensification of the fighting. At the United Nations, US ambassador Nikki Haley expressed dismay as negotiations dragged on to secure Russian approval for a ceasefire resolution. 

"Unbelievable that Russia is stalling a vote on a ceasefire allowing humanitarian access in Syria," Haley posted on Twitter. Russia has vetoed 11 draft resolutions throughout the Syrian conflict to block action that targeted its ally. In November, it used its veto to end a UN-led investigation of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron wrote to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday to ask him to back the ceasefire. Negotiations have stumbled over a key provision of the draft resolution that specifies when the ceasefire will begin. Following hours of tough negotiations, an amended draft was circulated that demands a 30-day ceasefire "without delay," while stopping short of specifying the timing. A previous draft had said the ceasefire would go into force 72 hours after the adoption, but that was dropped from the text in a bid to reach compromise with Russia. In another concession to Russia, the draft also specifies that the ceasefire will not apply to operations against the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda, along with "individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated" with the blacklisted terror groups.

The text would demand the immediate lifting of all sieges in Syria, including that on Eastern Ghouta, and order all sides to "cease depriving civilians of food and medicine indispensable to their survival". AFP

Latest News

  1. Floral tribute paid to four policemen killed in Shopian militant attack
  2. Floral tribute paid to four policemen killed in Shopian militant attack
  1. Shaktikanta Das to be new RBI Governor
  2. Shaktikanta Das to be new RBI Governor
  1. 39 per cent voting recorded in final phase of Kashmir panchayat polls
  2. 39 per cent voting recorded in final phase of Kashmir panchayat polls
  1. Sachin Pilot: the pilot who helped drive Cong to victory in Rajasthan
  2. Sachin Pilot: the pilot who helped drive Cong to victory in Rajasthan
  1. Body of missing driver recovered in Rajouri
  2. Body of missing driver recovered in Rajouri
  1. Omar Abdullah condemns killing of cops in south Kashmir’s Shopian
  2. Omar Abdullah condemns killing of cops in south Kashmir’s Shopian
  1. Four cops killed after militants attack police post in south Kashmir’s Shopian
  2. Four cops killed after militants attack police post in south Kashmir’s Shopian
  1. 1984 riots: Delhi HC seeks police response to convict's plea
  2. 1984 riots: Delhi HC seeks police response to convict's plea
  1. Policeman critically injured in Shopian attack succumbs
  2. Policeman critically injured in Shopian attack succumbs
  1. Traffic resumes on Jammu-Srinagar highway
  2. Traffic resumes on Jammu-Srinagar highway
  1. Jaish claims Shopian attack that left four cops dead
  2. Jaish claims Shopian attack that left four cops dead
  1. BJP headquarters in Delhi look deserted, Congress workers celebrate at theirs
  2. BJP headquarters in Delhi look deserted, Congress workers celebrate at theirs
  1. PDP hits back at Karan Singh, says ‘we risked political interests to safeguard secular fabric of JK’
  2. PDP hits back at Karan Singh, says ‘we risked political interests to safeguard secular fabric of JK’
  1. India's role crucial for Afghan peace: Qureshi
  2. India's role crucial for Afghan peace: Qureshi
  1. Congress bags Chhattisgarh, TRS sweeps Telangana, suspense in MP
  2. Congress bags Chhattisgarh, TRS sweeps Telangana, suspense in MP
  1. CRPF bunker removed from Amira Kadal after three decades, locals heave a sigh of relief
  2. CRPF bunker removed from Amira Kadal after three decades, locals heave a sigh of relief
  1. Night temperature dips across Kashmir following rain and snow
  2. Night temperature dips across Kashmir following rain and snow
  1. Law exam question on Muslim man killing cow triggers row, Delhi govt orders inquiry
  2. Law exam question on Muslim man killing cow triggers row, Delhi govt orders inquiry
  1. National interest must prevail over party: Modi
  2. National interest must prevail over party: Modi
  1. Suicide bomber kills four security personnel near Afghan capital
  2. Suicide bomber kills four security personnel near Afghan capital
  1. Panchayat polls phase 9: Less than one per cent polling till 10 am in Pulwama
  2. Panchayat polls phase 9: Less than one per cent polling till 10 am in Pulwama
  1. Polls were fought on state govts' performance: Rajnath
  2. Polls were fought on state govts' performance: Rajnath
  1. Forces lay siege to Sopore village in north Kashmir
  2. Forces lay siege to Sopore village in north Kashmir
  1. Names, identities of victims of rape and sexual assault not to be disclosed: SC
  2. Names, identities of victims of rape and sexual assault not to be disclosed: SC
  1. Urjit Patel's resignation signals dangerous trend: AIBEA
  2. Urjit Patel's resignation signals dangerous trend: AIBEA
  1. Congress set for landslide win in Chhattisgarh
  2. Congress set for landslide win in Chhattisgarh
  1. Hajin shuts on third straight day to mourn militant killings
  2. Hajin shuts on third straight day to mourn militant killings
  1. Three non-local workers die of asphyxiation in south Kashmir's Kulgam
  2. Three non-local workers die of asphyxiation in south Kashmir's Kulgam
  1. Congress leads in three BJP-ruled states, TRS in Telangana
  2. Congress leads in three BJP-ruled states, TRS in Telangana
  1. Kulgam house owner found dead 46 days after his abduction
  2. Kulgam house owner found dead 46 days after his abduction
  1. Polling underway for final phase of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Polling underway for final phase of panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir
x
This site uses cookies to deliver our services and to show you relevant news and ads. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service.That's Fine