Moscow (February 27, 2018): Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a daily five-hour humanitarian pause in the besieged Syrian enclave of eastern Ghouta.
The Russian president’s move, which was announced by his defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, highlighted in stark terms Russia’s primacy in Syrian affairs and the UN’s failure to impose an end to the fighting in the area bordering Damascus.More than 500 people have been killed in eight days of one of the deadliest bombing campaigns by the regime of Bashar al-Assad and his allies during the seven-year war.
The move by Moscow follows mounting condemnation of the violence, with the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, describing the situation in Ghouta as “hell on earth”.Shoigu said a ceasefire would begin on Tuesday in the Damascus suburb and would take place from 9 am until 2 pm daily. Russia, a key ally of the Syrian regime, would also help create an evacuation route for civilians in the area, he added.
The announcement on Monday came after at least 29 people were killed in eastern Ghouta despite a UN security council resolution that demanded an immediate cessation of the fighting.
Local doctors and monitors said at least 18 people had been injured by a suspected chlorine attack in eastern Ghouta on Sunday evening. Residents have condemned the international community’s inability to put an end to the fighting.