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Spotlight: UN resolution on Syria's ceasefire to allow access of much-needed humanitarian aid: analysts
BY 2018-02-26 12:38:35

DAMASCUS, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The recently adopted UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on a 30-day ceasefire in Syria may not end the fighting there, but will allow the access of urgent humanitarian aid to the war-torn country, analysts said.

The UNSC on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution demanding a ceasefire of at least 30 days across Syria that would allow humanitarian access and urgent medical evacuations.

It came after humanitarian organizations raised alarm about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syrian hotspots, mainly the Eastern Ghouta region east of the capital Damascus.

The resolution was adopted after marathon talks between world powers, mainly the U.S. and Russia, which rejected the initial draft due to the wording about the terror-designated groups.

The Russia-proposed amendments to the initial draft, put forward by Sweden and Kuwait, are believed to have put a range of terror-designated rebel groups on the target list and excluded them from the nationwide ceasefire.

The resolution was initially proposed against the backdrop of the intensifying military showdown in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus.

Last Sunday, the Syrian army unleashed a major strike in Eastern Ghouta, as part of the Syrian leadership's campaign to eliminate the terror-designated groups in that sprawling region.

Opposition activists said 500 people have been killed while hundreds of others wounded in the intense bombardment.

On the other hand, the rebels have rained down Damascus with a shower of mortar shells, killing dozens of people while forcing many families to flee frontline areas close to Eastern Ghouta to safer areas in the western countryside of Damascus.

Before the truce resolution was adopted, Syrians were divided between those who support an all-out government assault on Eastern Ghouta to end the rebels' presence, and those who support a deal that could bring peace to the capital without a major military showdown.

But the resolution was finally adopted to a truce in Syria except for the terror-designated groups, the same groups the Syrian army claims it has been fighting.

It means that the Syrian forces will continue their military campaign against the terror-labeled rebels in Eastern Ghouta, while at the same time, the door would be wide open for the humanitarian work to proceed to help an estimated number of 400,000 people in the region.

Anas Joudeh, head of the Nation Building Movement, believed that the military operations against the Nusra Front and the militant Islamic State (IS) will definitely continue.

Calling the ceasefire resolution as a "big step," Joudeh noted that a breach to the truce could happen.

But "that doesn't negate the fact that we are in front of a new phase that commits everyone to lifting the sieges everywhere and allows all medical institutions and organizations to move freely," he said.

Joudeh believed that the ultra-radical rebels in Eastern Ghouta will eventually hand over their weapons.

He said the ceasefire is "balanced and supported by all state members of the UN Security Council, and the most important thing is that it allows free movement of the civilians" in the besieged areas.

For his part, Amin Hutait, a Lebanese military expert, said that the Syrian government will use the resolution as a chance to continue the fight against al-Qaida-linked groups and IS across the country.

Hutait added that the resolution will also offer a chance to deliver humanitarian aid to the civilians as well as opening safe routes for those who want to leave.

Earlier Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that airstrikes and shelling renewed on the town of Sheifonieh in Eastern Ghouta.

The Britain-based watchdog group said that three people were killed in the shelling, adding that the shelling occurred after a calm night following the adoption of the resolution.

The Syrian army claimed it is fighting the al-Qaida-linked terror groups in Eastern Ghouta, which explained the ongoing military operation in that area despite the adoption of the truce resolution.

Meanwhile, some pro-government activists said the Syrian army launched a ground offensive on Eastern Ghouta on Sunday to eliminate the al-Qaida-linked groups.

Also, pro-government media outlets reported that several mortar shells slammed residential areas in Damascus on Sunday, without disclosing information on causalities.

Inji Sedki, spokesperson of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said Sunday that the ICRC has not entered Eastern Ghouta since last November, adding that the medical situation there was very bad.

"Of course the medical needs and the entry of medicines are most urgent in Eastern Ghouta," Sedki said, expecting the situation to get much worse than it was last November.

The fighting should stop and guarantees should be made in order to let the ICRC to carry out its humanitarian work on the ground, she added.

(Editor:Grace) (From:xinhua)
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