Airstrikes continue in Syria despite UN's ceasefire call

A damaged building in the Syrian rebel-held town of Douma, in the besieged eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team New York, NY, USA Feb 27, 2018, 01.47 PM (IST)

Regime airstrikes and shell-firing continued in Eastern Ghouta in Syria with no signs of stoppage despite United Nations Security Council's call for a 30-day ceasefire, according to Syrian civil defense sources, the White Helmets.

One civilian was killed and scores were injured when the fresh airstrikes and artillery shells loyal to Syria's Russian-backed president Bashar al-Assad regime were fired into Eastern Ghouta's Douma, Bayt Sava, and al-Marj regions at around 10.30 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday, the White Helmets said in a statement.

A family of nine was killed in a Syrian government strike on eastern Ghouta, a war monitor said on Monday, as Russia said a truce demanded by the United Nations Security Council would only take effect when all sides agreed how to implement it. 

Fighting has continued in Syria since Saturday's Security Council resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it would not apply to the army's battle with "terrorists" in eastern Ghouta. 

Health authorities in eastern Ghouta said several people had suffered symptoms consistent with chlorine gas exposure, killing one child. Lavrov said allegations the Syrian government was responsible for any chemical attack were aimed at sabotaging the truce.

He said Russia would introduce a daily humanitarian pause in Eastern Ghouta from February 27 by the order of President Vladimir Putin for the citizens to leave the war-ravaged Syria.

"A humanitarian corridor will be open for civilians to exit the region every day from 9 am till 2 pm", Shoigu said.

Meanwhile, Russia said on Monday it would establish an evacuation corridor and implement a five-hour daily truce to allow people to leave Syria's eastern Ghouta, after a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire across the entire country.

It appeared to make no mention, however, of allowing relief supplies to enter the territory, where 400,000 people are living under siege and bombardment.

In the past eight months, regime forces have intensified their siege of Eastern Ghouta, making it nearly impossible for food or medicine to get into the district and leaving thousands of patients in need of treatment.

Since February 19, escalating hostilities have resulted in 500 deaths and some 1,500 injuries in Eastern Ghouta, with 24 health facilities impacted by shelling and airstrikes, according to UN officials.