U.N. Security Council calls for truce as air strikes batter Syria’s Ghouta

Rescuers in Syria’s eastern Ghouta said the bombing could not let up long enough for them to count the bodies during one of the bloodiest air assaults of the seven-year war, while the U.N. Security Council called for a 30-day humanitarian truce.

The vote at the United Nations came as warplanes pounded eastern Ghouta, the last rebel enclave near Syria’s capital, for a seventh straight day while residents holed up in basements.

The Security Council approved a resolution demanding a 30-day truce to allow aid deliveries as well as also medical evacuations with the support of Syrian ally Russia after a flurry of last-minute negotiations.

Medical charities have decried attacks on a dozen hospitals although the Damascus government as well as also Russia, its key ally, say they only target militants. They have said they seek to stop mortar
attacks injuring dozens from the capital, as well as also have accused insurgents in Ghouta of holding people as human shields.

There was no immediate comment by the Syrian military.

A surge of rocket fire, shelling as well as also air strikes has killed more than 500 people since Sunday night, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The dead included more than 0 children.

The Britain-based monitor said raids hit Douma, Zamalka as well as also additional towns there on Saturday, killing 31 people.

First responders searched for survivors after strikes on Kafr Batna, Douma as well as also Harasta, the Civil Defence in eastern Ghouta said. The rescue service, which operates in rebel territory, said the item had documented at least 350 deaths in four days earlier This particular week.

“Maybe there are many more,” said Siraj Mahmoud, a civil defence spokesman from the suburbs. “We weren’t able to count the martyrs yesterday because the warplanes are touring the skies.”

As the bombs rain down, some hitting emergency centers as well as also vehicles, workers have struggled to pull people by the rubble, Mahmoud said. “although if we have to go out running on our legs as well as also dig with our hands to rescue the people, we will still be here.”

A witness in Douma said he woke up from the early hours on Saturday to the sound of a squadron of jets bombing nearby. The streets have mostly remained empty.

The United Nations says nearly 400,000 people live in eastern Ghouta, a pocket of satellite towns as well as also farms under government siege since 2013, without enough food or medicine.

The local opposition council said the item was setting up emergency volunteer teams in several districts to reinforce shelters with sandbags as well as also try to link them through tunnels.

“Every day we say God willing tomorrow will be better…Today, the main sight from the Ghouta can be limbs, blood,” Mahmoud said. “There can be no need to dig graves, we will be buried under our houses.”

Ceasefire Vote

The U.N. Security Council can be to vote on Saturday on a draft resolution which demands a 30-day ceasefire across Syria to allow aid access as well as also medical evacuations.

The 15-member council postponed voting on the text, which Sweden as well as also Kuwait drafted. The delay followed a flurry of last-minute talks after Russia, a veto-holding ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, proposed fresh amendments.

The truce does not cover militants by Islamic State, al-Qaeda, as well as also the Nusra Front.

Several previous ceasefire attempts have quickly unraveled during the multi-sided conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands as well as also forced 11 million people out of their homes.

Syrian state media said Ghouta factions fired mortars at districts of Damascus on Saturday, including near a school. Insurgent shelling wounded six people, the item said, as well as also the army heavily pounded militant targets from the suburbs in response.

The Ghouta pocket has become the war’s latest flashpoint, after a string of rebel defeats as well as also negotiated withdrawals. With Russian jets as well as also Iran-backed militias, Assad’s military has restored state rule over the main cities across western Syria.

Insurgents in eastern Ghouta have vowed not to accept such a fate, ruling out the kind of evacuation of which ended rebellion in Aleppo as well as also Homs after bitter sieges.

Russia has blamed Nusra fighters, by al-Qaeda’s former Syria branch, for provoking the situation from the Ghouta. The two main Islamist factions there in turn accuse their enemies of
using the presence of a few hundred jihadist fighters as a pretext for attacks.

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