Published: Mon, March 05, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

United Nations plans to deliver aid to Syria's Ghouta on Monday - statement

United Nations plans to deliver aid to Syria's Ghouta on Monday - statement

"The operation against terrorism must continue, while at the same time civilians will continue to have the possibility to evacuate from the war zone", he said.

"The progress achieved yesterday and the day before in Ghouta by the Syrian Arab Army was made during this truce", he also said.

He said the rebels are regrouping and will continue to fight, and he called on civilians in Ghouta not to lose faith or criticize rebel fighters to keep a unified front and maintain morale.

While falling short of the 30-day ceasefire demanded by the UN, Russia's announcement last week of daily humanitarian pauses in fighting had raised hopes of some aid deliveries and evacuations.

Under growing global pressure to end the bloodshed, regime backer Russian Federation last week announced daily five-hour "humanitarian pauses" in the enclave.

During an emergency meeting on Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that recent events in eastern Ghouta likely included "war crimes and potentially crimes against humanity".

Regime forces have advanced steadily since Thursday, the monitor said, recapturing four areas in the east and southeast of the enclave as well as two air bases.

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani to put pressure on the Syrian government to end attacks against Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region and allow humanitarian aid to flow.

Washington also accused Moscow of ignoring a UN Security Council resolution calling for a 30-day cessation of hostilities, saying Russian Federation has killed "innocent civilians under the false auspices of counterterrorism operations".

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The fighting since 18 February has left more than 600 people dead, many of them children.

"President Trump and President al-Sisi agreed to work together on ending the humanitarian crisis in Syria and achieving Arab unity and security in the region", the White House statement said.

Much-needed United Nations aid - including a 45-truck convoy with enough supplies for 90,000 people in 10 locations - was unable to enter the war-torn enclave.

No aid has been delivered, however, and the US State Department has called the Russian plan a "joke".

One of the main insurgent groups in eastern Ghouta, Jaish al-Islam, said the "scorched earth policy" had forced rebels to retreat and regroup, but vowed to recover lost territory.

Turkish forces, supported by Syrian rebel groups, seized the town of Rajo on Saturday, and Turkey's prime minister said they were advancing towards Afrin city "step by step".

The UN's regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis, also sounded the alarm on Sunday over the increase in violence.

The military has been accused of targeting civilians, but it says it is trying to liberate the region, one of the last rebel strongholds, from those it terms terrorists.

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