Russia Blocks UN Ceasefire Call on Eastern Ghouta Over Islamists’ Inclusion
Dwayne Harmon
Russia Blocks UN Ceasefire Call on Eastern Ghouta Over Islamists’ Inclusion” Russia’s United Nations ambassador accused the global media of a massive disinformation campaign about the situation in the rebel-held Damascus suburbs of eastern Ghouta – and not reporting the “inconvenient truth” that several thousand fighters are there, including affiliates of the al-Qaida-linked “terrorist” organization. Later, she accused “the barbaric Assad regime” of attacking men, women and children. The aid community has voiced its frustration at being prevented from assisting civilians in Eastern Ghouta, which has been under government siege since 2013. Syrian opposition activists and paramedics are reporting a fresh round of disaster as bombing in the rebel-held eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus has left 13 people dead. Mounting calls for a humanitarian truce in one of the bloodiest episodes of Syria’s seven-year conflict went unheeded as 46 more people were killed by air strikes and rocket fire, according to the news agency. “The untold suffering is intolerable and residents have no idea whether they will live or die”. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a Catholic, has demanded an immediate end to fighting in Eastern Ghouta, describing the rebel enclave as a “hell on earth”. Its residents are “living in hell on earth”, Guterres said during his address to a Security Council briefing on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter in the maintenance of global peace and security. The security council is the UN’s most powerful body, the only one with the authority to issue legally binding resolutions that can be backed up by sanctions, blue-helmeted peacekeepers or by force of arms. United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called the air attacks and artillery fire a “monstrous campaign of annihilation”. “It’s a fight between regional and worldwide countries, such as Russia, Iran and Turkey, seeking to acquire territory and influence and to establish their hegemony in these areas”, said Ishak, who heads the Syriac National Council. Russian Federation denied involvement in air attacks on Wednesday, calling an accusation by a USA official that Moscow was taking part in the raids “groundless”. “It is not clear what they are based on”. The UK and France say they are in favour, the USA and Russian Federation are more tepid and China is against it. On Sunday, the Syrian forces started the prelude to a massive ground offensive with heavy fire cover and airstrikes, while the rebels started raining down the capital with mortar shells, nearly paralyzing life in eastern neighborhoods close to Eastern Ghouta. He said humanitarian deliveries to besieged populations in Syria were sharply down this year. At the UN, Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said sponsors Sweden and Kuwait were requesting a vote on a ceasefire plan even though they are “fully aware there is no agreement on it”. “Wounded victims are dying only because they can not be treated in time”. The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations said 26 medical facilities had been targeted by strikes between Monday and Thursday. The government has sent military reinforcements to the front lines around the besieged suburb. It may be followed by a ground campaign. It expressed concern over the situation in Eastern Ghouta, where fresh bombardments by Syrian government on Thursday killed dozens. “The rebels have strong defences and an underground tunnel network that they use to their advantage”, Khodr said. Ankara was one of the biggest powers supporting anti-Assad rebels early in the war, and is now targeting the Kurdish militia, which it sees as an offshoot of the PKK insurgency it is fighting at home. Newburgh Gazette