For the sixth day in a row, Syrian army raids on the eastern Ghouta continued in a race against time before the UN Security Council voted on a cease-fire amid accusations between Washington and Moscow over responsibility for the ongoing civilian bloodshed.A new batch of bombs landed on the eastern ghouta in Syria on Sunday, described by a witness in one of the towns as the worst so far before a vote in the UN Security Council to demand a 30-day ceasefire across the country.
Military aircraft pounded the densely populated enclave east of the capital, the last bastion of opposition fighters near Damascus, and the Syrian Human Rights Observatory said the bombing killed at least 417 people and wounded hundreds more.
Medical organizations said the planes hit more than 10 hospitals, making the task of treating the injured almost impossible.
According to the observatory, the government planes and their artillery were always targeted and other towns and villages in the enclave in the early hours of yesterday morning. A witness in Douma, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the early morning shelling was the worst so far. The bombing campaign, which began Sunday evening, is among the toughest in the war, which is approaching its eighth year.
On the political front, the United States said Russia had “special responsibility” for the Syrian army’s bombing of the eastern Ghouta. “Without Russia’s support for Syria, this destruction would certainly have occurred and those killed,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. “This reminds us of Russia’s special responsibility for what is happening there,” she said. “What are they doing to stop the destruction, death and murder that is happening in Syria?”
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country was ready to hold a ceasefire on condition that exceptions also include “collaborating groups” with jihadi groups and “attacking neighborhoods” across the Syrian capital.
Lavrov had announced earlier in Belgrade that the opposition factions rejected an offer to leave the eastern Ghouta similar to other evacuation agreements previously obtained under an agreement with government forces, most notably east of the city of Aleppo at the end of 2016, and said that «the front of the victory and its allies categorically rejected the offer» .
The control of the al-Sham editorial board is limited to some limited centers in al-Ghouta, while Jaish al-Islam is the most prominent faction in the region and previously denied any negotiations with the regime.
On the Arab front, the UAE expressed its deep concern about the escalation of violence and its repercussions on the humanitarian situation and the safety of civilians in Al-Ghouta, and called for an immediate ceasefire to protect blood and protect civilians.
On the level of Operation Afrin in the Syrian north, the Turkish army announced that its forces bombed a convoy consisting of about 40 vehicles, which were trying to enter the city of Afrin. Forty-four gunmen were also killed in the olive branch during the past 24 hours.
The death toll of the Kurdish People’s Protection Forces (PKK), the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the DAESH organization has reached 1,873 since the start of the military operation in northern Syria, which entered its second month, the military chiefs said in a statement.