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UN mulls ceasefire resolution as air strikes hammer Syria's Ghouta for fifth day

Middle East News
Thu, 22 Feb 2018
Reuters
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Middle East News: UN mulls ceasefire resolution as air strikes hammer Syria's Ghouta for fifth day
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Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr Bashar Al Ja’afari, right, is seen during a UN Security Council meeting February 22, 2018 on the violence engulfing the Syrian rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta. (AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

Amman: Warplanes pounded the last rebel enclave near Syria's capital for a fifth day running on Thursday as the UN Security Council considered demanding a 30-day ceasefire across the country to allow emergency aid deliveries and medical evacuations.

The UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, pleaded for a truce to halt one of the fiercest air assaults of the seven-year civil war and prevent a "massacre" in the besieged eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus.

At least 403 people have been killed in eastern Ghouta district since Sunday night, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, with more than 2,116 wounded from the assault by Syria's military and its allies.

Planes have struck residential areas in the enclave of 400,000 people and, said medical charities, hit more than a dozen hospitals, making it near impossible to treat the wounded.

Panos Moumtzis, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Syria, said households in eastern Ghouta were without food, water or electricity in winter cold and 80 per cent of the population of the town of Harasta was living underground.

"There is a need for avoiding a massacre, because we will be judged by history," Mistura said, urging the 15-member Security Council to act. The Council was meeting on Thursday to discussion the situation at the request of Russia.

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