More bombs hit Syria rebel enclave ahead of United Nations vote

More bombs hit Syria rebel enclave ahead of United Nations vote

Permanent U.N. Security Council member Russian Federation has so far opposed a West-backed initiative to end the violence in eastern Ghouta region outside the Syrian capital for 30 days, arguing that the USA has declined to amend the draft resolution in a way that would allow fighters loyal to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-the successor to former Al-Qaeda branch the Nusra Front-to still be targeted.

Syrian regime air strikes and artillery fire hit the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta for a sixth straight day Friday as the world struggled to reach a deal to stop the carnage.

The attacks in Eastern Ghouta killed 46 people on February 22, AFP reported.

The ambassador of Kuwait, which holds the council presidency, said agreement was close, but there was still no consensus on the draft resolution.

Fresh strikes on Friday, by the Syria regime and its Russian ally, killed at least 32 civilians, including six children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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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.

Opposition activists say the massive bombardment aims to pave the way for a ground offensive by government forces to capture one of the first areas that revolted against President Bashar Assad in 2011.

Around 400,000 people are in hiding as the suburb crumbles around them after being pounded with shells, mortars and bombs dropped by Russian-backed Syrian regime forces since Sunday night.

U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura called again for an urgent cease-fire to relieve the "appalling suffering" of civilians in eastern Ghouta by stopping the bombing there and the "indiscriminate" shelling of Damascus.

Russian Federation has vetoed 11 draft resolutions on Syria to block action that targeted its ally in Damascus.

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"There are no guarantees that (the rebels) will not continue shooting at Damascus residential areas", Mr Lavrov said in a briefing.

A vote, if passed, would pave the way for the truce to go into effect 72 hours after the adoption of the measure, and for aid deliveries and medical evacuations to begin 48 hours after that.

Meanwhile, a top United Nations official said his office has received thousands of messages from civilians under bombardment in eastern Ghouta, as he stressed for stopping hostilities in the region.

"We refuse categorically any initiative that includes getting the residents out of their homes and moving them elsewhere", Ghouta rebel factions wrote in a letter to the Security Council yesterday.

A witness in Douma who asked not to be identified said by telephone that the early morning bombing was the most intense so far.

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"You see here the the E10 group which is actively working on finding the compromise language in order for all of us on the Council to agree on the text because we want to show that the Security Council can really work effectively", he said.

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