Aid convoy 'blocked in Syria' despite United Nations ceasefire order

Assad regime continues to hit Eastern Ghouta

Assad regime continues to hit Eastern Ghouta

FILE - Damaged cars and buildings are seen in eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria, Feb. 25, 2018.

At least five civilians were killed on Thursday in attacks on several towns in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta - a suburb of the capital Damascus - activist Abdelmalik Aboud told Al Jazeera from the town of Douma.

More than 600 people have been killed in Eastern Ghouta since the Syrian regime and its ally Russian Federation intensified bombardment of the rebel enclave on February 18, a UK-based monitor said.

The bombardment quietened since the Kremlin ordered the daily "humanitarian pause", but not one of the battered region's 400,000 residents left to board buses provided by the regime.

With Russia's intervention in 2015, Assad's forces have been able to regain most of the territory, but Eastern Ghouta remains one of the last armed opposition strongholds. But the evacuation of civilians from Eastern Ghouta has not taken place so far, the official admitted.

The government's campaign to regain control over Eastern Ghouta intensified on February 18.

The European Union´s top diplomat has written to the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey urging them to uphold a ceasefire in eastern Ghouta and allow aid into besieged areas.

But the first such truce on Tuesday quickly collapsed when bombing and shelling resumed after a short lull. Egeland says: "Since it was adopted, it did not get better - it got worse".

Lowcock said that wouldn't provide enough time for humanitarians to deliver aid and conduct medical evacuations.

People watch as smoke rises in eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria February 28, 2018.

Regime-backer Russian Federation on Monday announced five-hour halts in the bombardment of the enclave and said it was guaranteeing civilians safe passage to flee.

The head of the monitoring group said 38 regime and allied fighters were killed in three days of fighting in the Al-Marj area on the southern edge of the enclave.

The Russian defence ministry said yesterday that the measures, decided in agreement with Syrian forces, were meant to help civilians leave and to evacuate the sick and wounded.

The "humanitarian pause" ordered by Putin echoed a similar tactic employed by Russian Federation and Syrian regime during the ferocious battle to force rebels out of Aleppo in 2016. Tehran has deployed an alliance of Shi'ite militia in Syria since early in the conflict.

"Iran will continue to support the Syrian government".

AFP reporters saw no movement at the Wafideen checkpoint through which would-be evacuees were told to exit the Eastern Ghouta enclave that the government lost in 2012 and has besieged nearly ever since. "Under worldwide humanitarian law, humanitarian corridors are things which need to be well planned and must be implemented with the consent of parties on all sides, not only with one side", she told AFP.

The limited pause came after a UN Security Council resolution that called for a nationwide 30-day ceasefire that failed to take hold.

"We are determined because otherwise this becomes the copycat of Aleppo", de Mistura said, referring to a battle for besieged rebel-held eastern Aleppo in late 2016.

Syria has not officially acknowledged the resolution.

Latest News