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Russia will 'consider' UN ceasefire in Syria, as Eastern Ghouta carnage continues

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a UN press conference in New York [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 February, 2018

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Russia said it might back a ceasefire proposal for Eastern Ghouta, as Sweden and Kuwait draft UN resolution on the the continued killings in Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday Moscow will consider supporting a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Syria, as nations call for an end to the regime's bloody assault on Eastern Ghouta.

However, Moscow said it would it would only back the ceasefire if it did not cover fighters from the Islamic State group and the al-Qaeda-linked Tahrir al-Sham, AP, reported.

Such conditions have been used by Russia before to continue its bombardment of opposition areas.

The proposed 30-day UN ceasefire, drafted by Sweden and Kuwait, would also allow humanitarian deliveries and medical evacuations to and from the besieged opposition enclave of Eastern Ghouta, close to Damascus.

It had been unclear whether Russia would exercise its veto to block the draft resolution.

Just this week, Lavrov voiced tacit support for the Syrian regime, saying that "the fight against terrorism cannot be restricted by anything".

More than 300 have died since the Syrian regime launche a new wave of airstrikes in Eastern Ghouta, one of the last rebel-held territories in the country.

World leaders - including French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday - have previously criticised President Bashar al-Assad for using terrorism as a "pretext" for violence in Syria.

Moscow is proposing the wording for the UN resolution would exclude the Islamic State group and "groups that cooperate with them and systematically shell residential areas of Damascus".

Russia and the Syrian regime have accused rebel groups based in Eastern Ghouta of shelling government-held areas of Damascus throughout the war.

 

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