UPDATES WITH MORE DETAILS FROM FRENCH STATEMENT, NUMBER OF VICTIMS CORRECTED
By Hajer M'tiri
PARIS (AA) - The French and German leaders on Friday urged Russia to support a cease-fire proposal for Eastern Ghouta, Syria at the UN Security Council.
In a joint letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, currently in Brussels for an EU summit, asked Russia to support the draft resolution calling for a 30-day cease-fire in the besieged Damascus suburb, to allow the entrance of humanitarian aid and evacuation of the injured, said a French presidential statement.
"It is now time to act ... In the face of the suffering of the people of Eastern Ghouta, France and Germany call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the implementation of a humanitarian truce to allow aid to be provided to civilian populations and emergency medical evacuations to take place, as has been requested by the United Nations," read the statement.
"France and Germany call on Russia to assume its full responsibilities in this regard," it added.
The two EU heavyweights also condemned "attacks on civilians in Damascus and on the Russian Embassy there."
"Nevertheless, these do not set aside the obligation and responsibility to protect the civilian population in Eastern Ghouta and elsewhere."
More than 400 civilians have been killed and more than 2,116 wounded in Eastern Ghouta over the last six days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
On Thursday, Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said Russia would not support the UN cease-fire proposal without some changes, calling it "unrealistic.”
Home to some 400,000 people, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years, bringing it to the verge of humanitarian catastrophe.
In the past eight months, Assad regime forces have intensified their siege, making it nearly impossible for food or medicine to get into the district and leaving thousands of patients in need of treatment.
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, to date hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict.