Compromise on Syria ceasefire resolution eluding UNSC

Damaged buildings are seen in the besieged town of Douma Eastern Ghouta Damascus Syria

Damaged buildings are seen in the besieged town of Douma Eastern Ghouta Damascus Syria

The United Nations Security Council unanimously called Saturday for a 30-day cease-fire in Syria, with Russian Federation agreeing to the temporary hiatus only after forcing two days of delays that critics said allowed ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to pursue a renewed bombing campaign blamed for hundreds of recent deaths in a rebel-controlled area.

Russian Federation today said there was no agreement at the UN Security Council on a 30-day ceasefire for Syria and presented amendments to a draft resolution that would allow aid deliveries and the evacuation of civilians from besieged Eastern Ghouta.

Clashes were reported on Sunday between insurgents and government forces in rebel-held areas near Damascus, despite the United Nations resolution demanding a 30-day nationwide truce.

The latest escalation by Damascus and its allies has killed more than 500 people in the enclave over the last week, the Observatory said.

Rescuers in Eastern Ghouta said the bombing would not let up long enough for them to count the bodies, in one of the bloodiest air assaults of the seven-year war.

He also reminded the Security Council that the Resolution did not preclude operations against Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra, some of whom are holed up in Eastern Ghouta and elsewhere in Syria.

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

The government side appears to be justifying its attacks based on this exclusion, saying it is at war against terrorism.

A week of intense attacks on Eastern Ghouta killed at least 510 people, including 127 minors, according to latest figures.

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In search of water in Douma, eastern Ghouta, Damascus.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had unanimously approved a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance.

Pope Francis yesterday said Syria was being "martyred" by continued attacks killing civilians in the eastern Ghouta district, calling for an immediate end to violence and access to humanitarian aid.

Russian Federation did not want to specify when a truce would start, so a proposal for the truce to begin 72 hours after adoption was watered-down to demand it start "without delay".

Regime air strikes and artillery have been pounding the enclave since February 18, with at least 520 dead, including more than 100 children, according to the observatory. AFP PHOTO / Ammar SULEIMANAMMAR SULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images Members of the Syrian Civil Defense group help residents during airstrikes and shelling by Syrian government forces, in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria.

Mr Abdel Rahman said there were also clashes in the south of the area between regime forces and fighters from the Jaish Al Islam rebel group.

Control of eastern Ghouta is shared between two main Islamist factions, while Syria's former al-Qaida affiliate is also present.

"It is gratifying that the U.N. Security Council has noted the ongoing work actually carried out by Iran, Russia and Turkey as guarantor countries of the Astana process", the ministry said.

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