USA presents new United Nations draft resolution on Syria ceasefire

Leslie WoodMar 13, 2018

Activists and fighters in eastern Ghouta in recent days have said the bombardment has included incendiary material that causes fires and burn injuries.

The local council of Douma said in a statement on Saturday that burials had been halted because of airstrikes on the town's cemetery.

The UN humanitarian agencies have sounded the alarm about the worsening humanitarian situation for 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta, where activists said around 1,000 have been killed since a military showdown between rebels and the government late February.

The southern area around Deraa province is one of three main parts of the country where large populations are still under the control of rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, along with a northern area near the Turkish border and the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus.

Citing pro-government media, the AP said that the Syrian army and allied forces established a corridor that cuts through the opposition holdout after capturing the town of Mudeira on Sunday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian conflict, says more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in eastern Ghouta.

Defeat in eastern Ghouta would deliver the rebels their biggest blow since December 2016, when a government offensive drove them from Aleppo, their largest urban stronghold.

"We call on the worldwide community to act quickly before something irreversible happens in Harasta", said Hassoun.

Backed by Russian Federation, the advance has battered Eastern Ghouta with air strikes, artillery and rocket fire, raising widespread global concern and prompting urgent calls for a ceasefire. About 85 percent were killed by government forces and their allies, it said.

According to Hassoun, some former residents of Harasta - who had left the town five years ago - are trying to negotiate with the Assad government on behalf of those still in the town so that they might be allowed to leave the enclave safely.

The Syrian government forces found the workshop while sweeping through the village of Aftris in Eastern Ghouta after militants withdrew from the community, Syrian Arab Army Colonel Feruz Ibrahim told reporters on Monday.

After the alleged use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta in January, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Damascus could be using chemical weapons; he also said that Russian Federation is responsible for the victims because of its engagement in Syria.

People in Eastern Ghouta say they dread a similar fate.

Mattis blamed Russian Federation for Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, which Moscow said it would help eliminate as part of an agreement in 2013, but which the USA and worldwide observers said Syria used on civilians previous year. Accusing Damascus, the United States then launched several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase, which the opponents of the Syrian government claimed was used as the launch pad for the alleged gas attack, taking the lives of about 20 people, including both Syrian soldiers and civilians.

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