ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The UN Security Council on Saturday demanded a 30-day truce in Syria as rescuers in the country’s eastern Ghouta region pleaded that ongoing bombardments had prevented them from reporting and collecting casualties in what has been some of the deadliest air strikes in the country.
Soon after the unanimous vote by the 15-member council passed, jets struck an area in eastern Ghouta, the last rebel enclave near Damascus, war monitoring groups and emergency service reported.
Warplanes have shelled the region for seven days in a row, and residents have reportedly been confined to hiding in basements.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday appealed for an immediate end to “war activities” in eastern Ghouta, an area where almost 400,000 people have been facing a Syrian government siege since 2013, enduring perpetual food and medicine shortages.
“What is necessary is for the demands of the Security Council to be underpinned by concrete on the ground agreements,” Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council after the vote.
The resolution was drafted by Sweden and Kuwait, calling for a ceasefire for 30-days “without delay” to allow aid access and medical evacuations.
“We accept that it might take a number of hours before it can all be fully implemented ... we just have to keep the pressure up, implementation is key now,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom told Reuters.
Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja‘afari stated that his government interpreted the resolution as also applying to “Turkish forces in Afrin, and the operations of the anti-ISIL (Islamic State) coalition in Syria ... Israeli forces in Syria, especially the occupied Syrian Golan.”
On Jan. 20, Turkey announced the military operation, intended to drive out the People’s Protection Units (YPG), its Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), and the ruling party Democratic Union Party (PYD) from Afrin.
The Turkish air strikes have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, according to Afrin Hospital data.
Editing by Nadia Riva