UN told Ghouta east is 'hell on earth'. Diplomats scramble to secure a ceasefire
The Security Council ready to vote for a draft resolution. The goal is to reach a 30-day ceasefire and promote the delivery of aid and medicines. Uncertainty of Russian support. UN Secretary-General: The "humanitarian tragedy" demands intervention.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The UN Security Council is set to vote today on a draft resolution, aimed at imposing a 30-day ceasefire in Syria. The objective is to deliver humanitarian aid and assistance in the most critical areas such as Ghouta east, a rebel stronghold on the outskirts of Damascus under siege by the government army.
In the area controlled by the extremist Islamic group Jaysh al-Islam, which uses the help of the jihadist militias of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, about 400 thousand civilians live in desperate conditions. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for the immediate cessation of fighting in an area that he called "hell on earth", with hundreds of victims and wounded.
"This is a humanitarian tragedy - underlined the head of the UN diplomacy - that is taking place before our very eyes and I do not believe that we can let such horrible things like this go on". An end of the fighting, he concluded, would facilitate the evacuation of hundreds of people in need of urgent medical treatment and the entry of aid into the region.
Faced with a worsening crisis, also due to the growing tension between Ankara and Damascus in the northern region of Afrin, international diplomacy is scrambling for a way to reach a ceasefire. Sweden and Kuwait have drawn up a draft that should be voted on today at the Security Council. It calls for an end to the siege of Ghouta east, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya, a 72-hour ceasefire to stabilize the areas and, 48 hours later, the start of aid delivery operations.
The position of Russia, which has repeatedly used its veto at the UN to block resolutions unfavorable to its Syrian ally, remains to be seen. At this juncture, too, Moscow seems to press for an urgent meeting of the Security Council: the Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia talks about "complex situation" in Ghouta East, where there are "terrorists" which "the Syrian army is trying to fight". These groups, he concludes, are responsible for "the bombings on Damascus" that cause victims and wounded, even within the Christian community.