Russian Military: Militants in Syrian Eastern Ghouta Impede Civilians' Exit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

"France and Germany condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations, including very large numbers of children, and against civil and medical infrastructure in clear violation of the most fundamental worldwide humanitarian law", it read.

Russian Federation has so far vetoed 11 draft resolutions on Syria that targeted its ally in Damascus.

Russia, Turkey and Iran in 2017 had designated Eastern Ghouta as a "de-escalation zone", meaning civilians could reside there without being targeted by any party in Syria's war. And the bombing attacks have been relentless,  Currie said.

Exhausted and famished families cowered in cramped and damp basements, exchanging information on the latest casualties of the government's blitz.

Activists say 462 people have now been killed there this week.

More than 2,000 people have been wounded.

The bombing of the enclave of the Syrian rebels near Damascus have been going on for six days. "How many more people will die before the The Security Council agrees to take up this vote?". Let's do this tonight.

Syrian state media reported one person was killed and 58 injured in rebel shelling of sites in Damascus, including a hospital.

However, Russia called the draft resolution "unrealistic", and proposed amendments to it. In November, it used its veto to end a UN-led investigation of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The United States, Britain and France have pushed for a quick vote to address the dire situation on the ground as Syrian warplanes pounded Eastern Ghouta.

But negotiations were held up over a number of issues, including when the ceasefire should begin.

The voting on the draft resolution was initially set for Friday, 19:00 Moscow time and later rescheduled for 22:30.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was ready to vote for a draft ceasefire resolution, but it needed guarantees that militants would honour it.

The letter included a condemnation of the attacks on Damascus by opposition fighters inside Eastern Ghouta, but ended with a call for Russian Federation to "assume its full responsibilities".

"We call on the United Nations to immediately halt the systematic genocide in Eastern Ghouta by the Assad regime, Iranian-backed militias, and Russia", Selva Aksoy, deputy chair of the Syrian Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SMDK), told reporters.

"Every day we have strikes, destruction".

But all three rebel groups have refused. We don't want that to continue, he said, adding the USA is monitoring the situation.

The enclave is completely surrounded by government-controlled territory and its 400,000 residents are unwilling or unable to flee the deadly siege.

Several previous ceasefire attempts in Syria have quickly unraveled throughout the multi-sided conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced 11 million people.

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