Clashes rock edge of Syria's Ghouta despite 'truce'

Valeriy Sharifulin  TASS

Lowcock said convoys are ready to go to 10 besieged and hard-to-reach locations including 45 trucks with aid for 90,000 people in Douma in eastern Ghouta.

The continued fighting has undermined a daily five-hour local cease-fire ordered by Russian Federation, which is meant to facilitate the delivery of aid and the evacuation of civilians, who have been trapped in the besieged suburbs since Damascus stepped up attacks on the region last month.

"During the truce, the ceasefire is nearly enforced", said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman, adding that nine civilians were killed in strikes before and after on Wednesday.

Responding to United States critics Russian Ambassador to UM said Russia is working towards implementing daily five-hour humanitarian pause despite the rebels shelling mortars targeting the humanitarian operations.

TASS cited Zolotukhin as saying that rebels were continuing to shell the evacuation corridor from eastern Ghouta.

Thirty-eight members of the regime forces were also killed while attempting to storm eastern Ghouta in the last 48 hours, the observatory said.

A total of eight civilians were killed in Syria's besieged Eastern Ghouta on Wednesday by Bashar al-Assad regime and its supporters, despite UN Security Council Resolution and Russia's announced truce.

A humanitarian corridor will be open to civilians to exit the region every day from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. (0600-1100GMT), said Shoigu.

Western powers, however, blame the Syrian government and Russian Federation for the crisis.

Nebenzia further clarified, "We understand that terrorists remain a legitimate target for military operations and that there will be no ceremonial approach for them".

"They are asking civilians to leave eastern Ghouta on the false premise that they can then attack anyone left in the area as much as they would like".

As the war in Syria approaches the seven-year mark in March, ambassadors at the United Nations on Wednesday sparred over why a 30-day cease-fire that the Security Council adopted on Saturday had yet to take effect.

Jeffrey Feltman, UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, expressed frustration over the council's inaction and called for the resolution to be implemented, lamenting "that is not happening".

People watch as smoke rises in eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria on February 28, 2018.

He said regime forces took advantage of the "intensive bombardment and the clashes on the edge of Eastern Ghouta to make a limited advance in the Hosh al-Zawahira and Shaifuniyeh districts".

At least 18 fighters from Jaish al-Islam, Eastern Ghouta's dominant anti-regime faction, were also killed, the Observatory's Abdel Rahman said.

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