Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Aid delivery to Syria's eastern Ghouta halted by violence

Aid delivery to Syria's eastern Ghouta halted by violence

A significant number of civilians in Syria were killed by Russian and USA -led coalition air strikes past year, according to a new report from United Nations war crimes investigators.

Russian-backed regime troops have advanced steadily since launching an assault on the last major rebel stronghold near the capital on 18 February.

The UN's refugee agency UNHCR said the convoy was in the town of Douma for almost nine hours before it cut short its mission.

Islamic State fighters and other insurgent groups committed war crimes including deadly attacks on civilians and using them as human shields, the investigators said in their latest report covering six months through January 15.

A stifling, years-long government siege has forced Eastern Ghouta's estimated 400,000 inhabitants to scrape by on smuggled goods, produce from local farms and rare aid deliveries.

And three US -led coalition strikes on a school near Raqqa in March 2017 killed 150 residents - roughly five times the toll acknowledged by the Pentagon, which said at the time that dozens of militants and not civilians were killed.

Paramedics said they had treated several people in Eastern Ghouta with breathing...

Monday's convoy was delivering "health and nutrition supplies, along with food for 27,500 people in need", OCHA said. The document also said that vehicles would be provided to armed groups members and they would be protected along the entire route.

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The United Nations said that it planned to send another aid convoy on Thursday.

Regime ally Russian Federation last week announced a five-hour daily "humanitarian pause" in Eastern Ghouta, during which it said it would guarantee safe passage to civilians wishing to flee the enclave.

The Syrian government has denied using chemical weapons, saying it surrendered its stockpiles after signing the global ban in 2013.

The U.N. investigators, noting that efforts for the U.N. Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) have stalled, due to Russian vetoes, welcomed national jurisdictions taking up more cases.

President Emmanuel Macron said Monday he expects Russian Federation, which voted in favor of resolution 2401, "to take real and concrete steps to immediately stop the indiscriminate bombings and the sieges against civilians".

De Bretton-Gordon added that, while he speaks to people in Ghouta regularly, there is no independent verification of the information he is getting and this is allowing the Styrian regime to paint the situation as overblown.

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, leases the Hemeimeem military base in Syria, near the Mediterranean coast.

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