Airstrikes on Syria's Ghouta enclave continue despite UN ceasefire deal

Airstrikes on Syria's Ghouta enclave continue despite UN ceasefire deal

Airstrikes on Syria's Ghouta enclave continue despite UN ceasefire deal

The UNSC unanimously approved the resolution on Saturday demanding a 30-day ceasefire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded.

Eastern Ghouta is the last remaining rebel-held area east of Damascus and has been under siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces since 2013, in an attempt to drive rebel forces out.

In the eastern suburbs of Damascus, a region called Eastern Ghouta, almost 500 people have been killed in a deadly escalation by the Syrian government that began Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told The Associated Press. The UK-based monitoring group said Sunday's bombing was less intense than attacks over the past week.

Earlier, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, called for the immediate implementation of the ceasefire.

The latest escalation has killed more than 500 people in the enclave over the last week, the Observatory said.

The dead include more than 120 children.

President Emmanuel Macron of France and Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, are to hold talks today with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, about implementing a United Nations ceasefire in Syria.

"As the [UN resolution] says, parts of the suburbs of Damascus, which are specifically controlled by the terrorists of the Nusra Front and other terrorist groups, are not subject to ceasefire", Baqeri said according to Iranian media, adding that "clean-up [operations] will continue there".

"We practice a sovereign right of self-defense and we will continue to fight terrorism wherever it is found on Syrian soil", he said.

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Russia, along with Iran, has given Assad's government crucial support throughout the 7-year-old war in Syria, which began with a government crackdown on protests.

"In these days, my thoughts have often turned to the beloved and martyred Syria, where war has intensified, especially in Eastern Ghouta", he said, referring to an eastern suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus where the bombing by government forces has been concentrated.

"It is gratifying that the U.N. Security Council has noted the ongoing work actually carried out by Iran, Russia and Turkey as guarantor countries of the Astana process", the ministry said.

He went on to stress that "the Syrian Army and legitimate Government are after establishing ceasefire in order to ensure the security of Damascus people".

The fighting also increased pressure on Russian president Vladimir Putin, Mr Assad's most powerful backer, to rein in his Syrian ally.

The United Nations says almost 400,000 people live in eastern Ghouta, a pocket of satellite towns and farms under government siege since 2013.

They have taken part in Syria peace talks in Geneva, which were brokered by the United Nations, and in the Kazakh capital Astana, organised by regime allies Russian Federation and Iran and rebel backer Turkey.

The Security Council has been negotiating the draft resolution on the ceasefire for almost two weeks as the Syrian government has pressed on with a fierce offensive in the rebel-held enclave.

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