'Damascus assault to continue despite ceasefire call'

01 March 2018, 02:35 | Isaac Mcdaniel

'Damascus assault to continue despite ceasefire call'

'Damascus assault to continue despite ceasefire call'

But activists said that Damascus, Syria's capital, and the embattled suburb eastern Ghouta appeared relatively calm.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Major General Mohammad Mohammad Bagheri discussed the 30-day Syrian ceasefire resolution that was adopted by the UN Security Council on Saturday, adding "this time, too, like the previous times, those who do not want security and peace for Syria, began pushing for a ceasefire to shield terrorists as soon as they realized that the Syrian Army and Government were planning to cleanse the Damascus suburb of the presence of terrorists".

In addition to a 30-day nationwide ceasefire, the resolution demanded weekly aid convoys, medical evacuations and the immediate lifting of sieges, particularly eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian government said it is trying to liberate Eastern Ghouta from "terrorists", which is considers to be jihadist militants and mainstream rebel groups.

Clashes were reported on Sunday between insurgents and government forces in rebel-held areas near Damascus, despite the United Nations resolution demanding a 30-day nationwide truce.

After Russia asked for the resolution to include other groups "co-operating with them", the final text specifies that operations may continue against "individuals, groups, undertakings and entities" associated with IS, al-Qaeda or other groups designated by the Security Council as terrorists.

Nebenzia accused the U.S. of using the fight against terrorists for "geopolitical agendas with dubious legitimacy".

Hamza Birqdar, Jaish al-Islam's military spokesman, said the rebels thwarted attempts by government forces and Iran-backed militias to advance.

Syria's northern neighbour had previously been a staunch supporter of rebel groups fighting government forces.

The strikes on Sunday morning included two on the outskirts of Douma, the main town in Eastern Ghouta, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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The two major rebel factions in Eastern Ghouta welcomed the United Nations resolution. Eastern Ghouta is part of de-escalation zones endorsed by Turkey, Russia and Iran, where acts of aggression are prohibited.

Russian Federation did not want to specify when a truce would start, so a proposal for the truce to begin 72 hours after adoption was watered-down to demand it start "without delay".

"Unbelievable that Russian Federation is stalling a vote on a ceasefire allowing humanitarian access in Syria", Haley posted on Twitter.

Syrian government forces began the bombardment Sunday before a planned ground operation to recapture the opposition-held area.

"Russia has covered for Assad many times we now have to decide what's the response to that", Haley said during a question-and-answer session at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution demanding a 30-day cease-fire to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the fresh eruption of conflict in the area, which began February 18, has so far left more than 500 civilians dead, of whom 121 are children.

Rebel sources in control of the enclave were resisting the attacks, Bin Javid reported, saying the fighters struggled to hold their positions on multiple fronts.

It will be up to Russian Federation to use its influence with Assad to enforce the cease-fire, which would allow desperately needed deliveries of emergency supplies and medical evacuations of the seriously injured and sick.

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