New raids kill 13 in suburb
A new wave of deadly Syrian government bombardment in the opposition-held eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus yesterday killed 13 people, as world leaders and aid groups called for an end to the carnage that has left hundreds of people dead in recent days.
The air strikes on rebel towns in the suburb known as eastern Ghouta were reported by several local opposition activist groups and a Britain-based war monitor. The Syrian Civil Defence, that works in opposition-held areas, said its paramedics rushed to several areas after the shelling.
Syrian government forces have been pounding the area for days, hitting residential buildings, hospitals and infrastructure, and overwhelming medics and rescue workers. The bombard-ment has forced many among the nearly 400,000 residents to sleep in basements and make-shift shelters, and has over-whelmed rescue workers who have spent days digging out survivors from the wreckage of bombed-out buildings.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate suspension of "all war activities" in the area, where he said people are living "in hell on earth". The UN Security Council was expected to vote yesterday on a resolution, called for by Sweden and Kuwait, ordering a 30-day ceasefire throughout Syria to enable delivery of humanitarian aid and evacuation of the critically sick and wounded.
Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called a 30-day ceasefire unrealistic, but Moscow said yesterday it would consider supporting the UN-proposed ceasefire if it doesn't cover extremists such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked groups.
The Russian military is again supporting Assad's forces as it did in the all-out assault on the rebel-held half of Syria's largest city, Aleppo, in late 2016, which drove the rebels from their enclave there.