Published: Sat, March 03, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Rebels shell exit corridor in Syria's Ghouta: Russia

Rebels shell exit corridor in Syria's Ghouta: Russia

Civilians in Syria's Eastern Ghouta have continued to shun Russia's offer to quit the besieged enclave, as rebels and Moscow blamed each other for the humanitarian deadlock.

"Russia is daily undertaking efforts to ensure a cessation of hostilities, for humanitarian pauses to be established, to alleviate the plight of suffering civilians", he told council members.

Regime-backer Russian Federation on Monday announced five-hour halts in the bombardment of the enclave and said it was guaranteeing civilians safe passage to flee.

Syrian Ambassador Hussam Edin Aala told the conference that his government "cannot possibly be using chemical weapons because it very simply has none in its possession". On Wednesday, the armed groups opened fire on governmental troops near the humanitarian corridor.

Mark Lowcock, the United Nations under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said there has been no change in the situation.

United States and UN officials have accused the Russian-backed Syrian regime of carrying out an indiscriminate aerial bombardment of the area. Only then, did Russian Federation and Syria declare a temporary ceasefire.

From 19th February to 26th February, Russia has made a lot of air strikes in Eastern Ghouta adjacent to the Syrian capital Damascus.

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The UN Security Council will meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss the humanitarian situation and hear from UN aid chief Mark Lowcock.

Sweden's deputy ambassador Carl Skau, speaking on behalf of resolution sponsors Sweden and Kuwait, also declared: "A five-hour cease-fire does not meet the requirements of the resolution".

But residents say neither the ceasefire nor the corridors have been implemented.

"We have a continuation of hell on Earth", Allen told reporters.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army. "Today is not for talking", said Francois Dellatre.

"Only our country is called upon to implement Resolution 2401", Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said with visible irritation.

In the ensuing clashes of a crowd of protesters with militants, "desperate local residents killed three gunmen", he said.

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Some residents left the basements they had been cowering in for days to check on their property and buy food.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 147 of the 601 civilians killed, mostly in airstrikes, were children.

Rebel groups and activists in the besieged enclave deny the accusation, saying civilians don't want to leave because they fear arrest.

Syrians walk along a street covered in debris from shelling in Arbin in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on February 25, 2018.

"One can not describe the level of monstrosity over the past few days", Abu Salem al-Shami, an activist in the area, told Al Jazeera. The corridor is around two kilometers (1.2 miles) northwest from the center of Duma.

The three main armed groups inside the territory, which lies within mortar range of Damascus, said they wanted more global guarantees.

The main rebel units actively holding territory in Eastern Ghouta are Islamist groups Jaish al Islam and Faylaq al Rahman, who have taken part in peace negotiations in the past.

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