Published: Sun, February 25, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

United Nations delays vote on Syria ceasefire as death toll climbs to 470

United Nations delays vote on Syria ceasefire as death toll climbs to 470

Most of the dead are women, children and the elderly, Dr. Fayez Orabi, head of the enclave's health department, told CNN in a series of WhatsApp messages.

Meanwhile, Syrian government warplanes supported by Russian Federation pounded the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta for a seventh straight day Saturday, killing at least three people, opposition activists and a war monitor reported.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 510 civilians have now died in the week-long bombardment.

The breakthrough at the United Nations came after the USA blamed Russian Federation, the Syrian government's main ally, for stalling global humanitarian efforts to ease the suffering in Syria.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said al-Qaida-linked fighters were using civilians as human shields in the rebel-held suburbs outside Damascus.

United Nations 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.

World leaders have expressed outrage at the plight of civilians in Eastern Ghouta, which United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called "hell on earth", but have so far been powerless to halt the bloodshed.

The U.N. Security Council heard a briefing from U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock on what he called "the humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes" in the rebel-held suburbs known as eastern Ghouta.

The UN Security Council is continuing behind-the-scenes negotiations to vote on a resolution seeking a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to implement humanitarian aid.

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"They were bursting in the sky, and the colors were white and dark orange", said Siraj Mahmoud, a spokesman for the White Helmets rescue group.

The UN Security Council in NY is gathering to discuss a draft resolution calling for a 30-day nationwide ceasefire.

The delay followed a flurry of last-minute talks on the text after Russian Federation, a veto-holding ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, had proposed new amendments.

A Syrian man checks the site of Syrian government bombardments in Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on Thursday.

"The European Union is running out of words to describe the horror being experienced by the people of Eastern Ghouta".

Syrian state media said rebel factions had fired shells at the Old City of Damascus on Saturday, Reuters reported. "During writing this message to you more than 20 rockets have fell around us", he added.

Other activists also claim government forces used phosphorous bombs in their latest attacks.

At least 24 people were killed in Saturday's raids on Douma, Hammouriyeh and other towns.

The truce does not cover militants from Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the Nusra Front.

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