New attacks in Syria's Eastern Ghouta after UNSC resolution

New attacks in Syria's Eastern Ghouta after UNSC resolution

Kerry Wise
March 1, 2018

Iran said pro-Damascus forces would press ahead with attacks on an insurgent enclave near the Syrian capital, as ground fighting raged on there in defiance of a United Nations resolution demanding a 30-day truce across the country.

The ten elected non-permanent members (E10) of the UN Security Council pushed the five permanent members (P5) to reach a compromise and got a unanimous vote on a resolution ordering a ceasefire "without delay" in Syria to allow humanitarian aid to reach areas under siege.

New regime strikes hit the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Sunday despite a United Nations Security Council demand for a ceasefire to end one of the most ferocious assaults of Syria's civil war.

"In these days, my thoughts have often turned to the beloved and martyred Syria, where war has intensified, especially in Eastern Ghouta", he said, referring to an eastern suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus where the bombing by government forces has been concentrated.

Iran's army chief-of-staff said Sunday the UN Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire in Syria does not cover "terrorist groups" in Eastern Ghouta and they would continue to be targeted by the Syrian military.

"Our government will reserve the right to respond as it deems appropriate in case those terrorist arms groups are targeting civilians in any part of Syria with even one single missile", Ja'afari said.

More than 500 people, including 123 children, were killed last week while 2,400 others were wounded in the shelling.

Ghouta-based opposition activist Anas al-Dimashqi says the night was calm but warplanes and drones are still flying over rebel-held areas.

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But all three rebel groups have refused. Yet while Moscow supported adopting the resolution, Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia cast doubt on its feasibility.

"We practice a sovereign right of self-defense and we will continue to fight terrorism wherever it is found on Syrian soil", he said.

"What Russia, and what Iran and what Syria have done recently is a humanitarian disgrace", President Donald Trump said Friday during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the White House. He also wrote to G7 leaders to argue against a proposed Western military offensive aimed at dislodging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, which was credited by Russian leader Vladimir Putin with helping to halt the momentum towards a use of force.

In separate statements Jaish al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman, the two main rebel groups in eastern Ghouta welcomed the ceasefire but said they would retaliate if attacked.

It is not known if the video was taken before the eastern Ghouta air strikes, or after.

The observatory said the death toll had hit nearly 500, including 165 children and 64 women .

On the key issue of a ceasefire, the resolution "demands that all parties cease hostilities without delay for at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria for a durable humanitarian pause, to enable the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid and services and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded. and demands that all parties engage to this end".

Russian Federation has been pressing for a negotiated withdrawal of rebel fighters and their families from Eastern Ghouta, like the one that saw the government retake full control of Syria's second city Aleppo in December 2016.