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Russian Federation and Syria clash with USA and West on Syria ceasefire

03 March 2018

Douma: A "humanitarian pause" announced by Russian Federation in Syria's deadly bombardment of Eastern Ghouta failed to end violence Tuesday, with fresh bloodshed and no sign of aid deliveries or residents leaving the besieged enclave.

AFP reporters saw no movement at the Wafideen checkpoint through which would-be evacuees were told to exit the Eastern Ghouta enclave that the government lost in 2012 and has besieged nearly ever since. Mark Lowcock, the UN under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, addressing members of the UN Security Council.

The daily pauses began Tuesday but so far, no humanitarian aid has gone in - and no civilians have left the area, known as eastern Ghouta.

Since February 18, 582 civilians, nearly a quarter of them children, have been killed in the Syrian and Russian bombardment of Eastern Ghouta, making it one of the bloodiest episodes of the country's seven-year-old conflict.

"When will your resolution be implemented?" he asked, staring fixedly at members of the UN Security Council, who listened in complete silence.

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.

Egeland, who heads humanitarian aid matters in the office of the U.N. Syria envoy, said the Russian plan for the five-hour pauses was "positive" but insufficient.

A military officer at the deserted checkpoint said ground fighting on the edges of Eastern Ghouta, where most anti-regime fighters are deployed, may change the dynamic.

"When will your resolution be implemented?"

Kelley Currie, the US ambassador on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria, Feb. 22, 2018, at U.N. headquarters.

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The Syrian regime has accused the Islamist and jihadist groups inside Ghouta of sabotaging the initiative by shelling the designated humanitarian corridors to hold civilians as human shields.

The US representative Kelley Currie accused the Syrian regime of violating the ceasefire, while Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the rebels.

Kelley Currie, the United States ambassador for economic and social affairs, accused the Syrian regime of violating the ceasefire, while Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said it was the rebels who were in violation of it.

He stressed that "any enduring pause must be preceded by an agreement of all parties for de-escalation".

Syrian children fill plastic containers at a water pump in Arbin in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on February 25, 2018.

Earlier in the day, Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said she had sent a letter to the trio of leaders, asking them to help end the violence in Syria.

This was despite a promise to halt the attacks on the eastern Ghouta region for 5 hours a day, starting on Tuesday. He added that it is necessary to effectively neutralize the Nusra Front extremist group.

The United States also blamed Syria for continuing to use chemical weapons.

Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari echoed Russia's criticism of the West telling the council "the main responsibility for ceasing hostilities is on groups that have influence on terrorist groups".

Russian Federation and Syria clash with USA and West on Syria ceasefire