02/07/2018, 10.05
SYRIA - UN

UN appeal for a humanitarian truce. But war rages on in Syria

The United Nations calls for an "immediate cessation of hostilities" to promote "the distribution of humanitarian aid, the evacuation of the injured and the sick". It also re-launches charges against the government army for the use of chemical weapons. Damascus continues its siege of the rebel enclave on the outskirts of the capital and in the province of Idlib.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The United Nations is launching an appeal for a month-long humanitarian truce in Syria, a nation battered by a bloody war now in its seventh year, which has caused 340,000 deaths and millions of refugees. In a recent appeal the UN leaders called for an "immediate cessation of hostilities", to allow for "the distribution of humanitarian aid, the evacuation of the wounded and sick in a critical state, and to alleviate the suffering" of civilians.

However, in response to the UN request to ease the tension and establish a truce, the government army loyal to President Bashar al-Assad has intensified bombing of a rebel enclave on the eastern outskirts of the capital. At least 40 people were killed in recent air raids on Goutha Est.

Government fighters also hit the province of Idlib, in the north-west of the country.

Dead and wounded are also registered in Damascus, especially in the Christian neighborhoods of the old city. Local sources speak of mortar shells hitting the Syrian Orthodox patriarchate in the district of Bab Tuma, causing at least two dead and three wounded.

The United Nations denounces the extreme difficulty in reaching the conflict areas. In particular, areas under siege by government forces cannot receive humanitarian aid without the permission of Damascus.

In a note, the UN humanitarian aid coordinator in Syria and other UN personalities denounce an "extreme" situation in these areas and invite all parties to loosen the grip of the conflict to facilitate the distribution of aid.

Meanwhile, UN experts have opened an investigation into a new complaint concerning the use of chemical weapons - the reference is to the use of chlorine bombs - by the regular army. Local doctors, opposition activists and Western governments point to Damascus, responsible for using toxic chemicals in at least six attacks in the last 30 days.

The accusations were rejected by the Damascus leadership, who dismissed these allegations as "lies". The response by the leaders of the UN International Commission of Inquiry on Syria was immediate who speak of an "alarming" reality.

Dramatic stories also come from the province of Idlib, scene of a government offensive against rebel and jihadist forces in the area. Local journalist Akram Al-Ahmad speaks of a "Grozny scenario", with severe civilian suffering. Al-Ahmad professional founded the Syrian Press Center (SPC), an information center that has allowed the formation of over 450 Syrian journalists in these seven years of war.

In an interview with Le Monde, Akram Al-Ahmad states that part of his work is "making the Syrian civil and democratic movement known", which is "completely absent" from the chronicles of the main international media. "Everyone thinks that in Idlib there are only Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (IS, ex Isis)] and Tahrir Al-Cham. In reality there is an important movement belonging to civil society, made up of hundreds of people: local councils, non-governmental organizations "that are opposed to jihadist and extremist groups.

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