By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) - The U.K. has called for an immediate end to the Assad regime’s "merciless violence" in Eastern Ghouta, British foreign secretary said Thursday.
“I am utterly appalled by the brutal and merciless violence that the Assad regime is inflicting on the people of Eastern Ghouta,” Boris Johnson said in a statement.
“They [Ghouta residents] are enduring a hell entirely of the making of Assad and his enablers,” Johnson said, calling for an end to the violence in the region.
Since Tuesday, regime forces have stepped up attacks on Eastern Ghouta using barrel bombs, artillery and other types of weapons, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent based in the area.
“Today in the UN Security Council, the U.K. will press Russia to support a cease-fire to allow for the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid,” he added.
“Protecting Syrians and getting them the lifesaving aid they need must be paramount. The U.K. is committed to working closely with all international partners to secure an end to the terrible bloodshed and make progress towards a political solution, which is the only way to bring peace to the people of Syria.”
At peace talks held in Kazakh capital Astana last year, Turkey, Russia and Iran designated Eastern Ghouta as a “de-escalation zone” in which acts of aggression would be expressly prohibited.
Nevertheless, Russia -- one of the agreement’s three guarantor-states -- has failed to prevent the regime from repeatedly violating the terms of the truce.
Home to some 400,000 residents, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years, which has brought it to the verge of humanitarian catastrophe.
Syria has been locked in a devastating conflict since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
According to UN officials, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict to date.