U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called for Russia and the regime of Bashar al-Assad to fully implement a ceasefire in eastern Ghouta.
“I am deeply concerned by the continued military campaign against the civilians of Eastern Ghouta and credible reports that Russian aircraft are actively participating alongside the Assad regime, contrary to the Security Council’s demand in UNSCR 2401 for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria. The areas suffering from bombardments are civilian-populated areas,” Johnson said in a press release.
“There are reports of a death toll of more than 600 civilians in the last two weeks, including 200 airstrikes and over 100 killed since Russia voted in favour of the ceasefire. All this in an area that, lest we forget, Russia itself announced as a de-escalation zone […} Having voted for UNSCR 2401 less than a week ago, Russia has a responsibility to ensure implementation of the ceasefire” he added.
On Feb. 24, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria without delay.
Over 600 civilians have been killed in the last two weeks in the ongoing offensive by forces loyal to the Assad regime to reclaim the rebel-held enclave east of Damascus.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the situation as “hell on earth”.
A suburb east of Damascus and with a population of over 400,000, Ghouta has been under a devastating siege for almost five years and humanitarian access to the enclave has been completely cut off.
“The people of Eastern Ghouta have endured enough, among broken promises of ceasefires and humanitarian pauses. We demand that Russia and the regime cease hostilities immediately and ensure the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid to Eastern Ghouta and medical evacuations, as called for by the UN Human Rights Council this morning in a U.K.-proposed Resolution. The people of Eastern Ghouta can wait no longer,” Johnson said.
Syria has been embroiled in a devastating civil war that has killed over 500,000 civilians and made over a million refugees.
The conflict, now in its seventh year, began as a civil protest by civilians calling for democratic reform.