Macron, Merkel to talk Syria ceasefire plan with Putin

File photo of Vladimir Putin. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Paris, France Feb 25, 2018, 12.22 AM (IST)

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks on Sunday with Russia's Vladimir Putin over implementing a UN ceasefire in Syria, France's presidency said, as new airstrikes pounded a rebel-held area.

The discussion, which was announced after the UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously demanded a 30-day truce, will centre on the "implementation of this resolution and on the political roadmap needed to achieve lasting peace in Syria", it said.

More than 500 civilians are thought to have died in a week of heavy bombardment by Syria's regime of the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, just outside Damascus.

After the council vote, which had support from Moscow, Syrian warplanes backed by Russian air power launched new raids on Eastern Ghouta, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. 

The Britain-based monitor said at least 41 civilians were killed in Saturday's strikes, including eight children. Russia has denied taking part in the assault. 

France and Germany have pushed for Russian support for the Syria ceasefire, which is mainly to allow aid to reach the besieged area and allow evacuations.

In its statement France's presidency said the ceasefire was "an essential first step", adding that it would be "extremely vigilant" over its implementation.