UPDATES WITH STATEMENT OF GUTERRES CALLING FOR IMMEDIATE IMPLEMENTATION OF UNSC DECISION
By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) - The UN Security Council on Saturday adopted a resolution calling for a 30-day cease-fire in Syria "without delay".
"All parties [should] cease hostilities without delay and commit to ensuring a durable humanitarian pause for at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria to enable the safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded in accordance with applicable international law," said the resolution.
It calls for the medical evacuation of 700 people, particularly in the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta.
It also demands a cease-fire in the Syrian cities of Yarmouk, Al-Fu'ah and Kafriya.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the immediate implementation of the resolution, a statement of the UN Secretary-General’s spokesman said.
"I welcome the Security Council’s resolution on a ceasefire in Syria and call for all sides to allow the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid," Guterres said on his social media account.
The UN Secretary-General called on all parties to comply with international law and protect civilian and civilian infrastructures, stressing that these obligations should not be ignored in the fight against terrorism, the statement added.
The resolution, prepared by Sweden and Kuwait, was adopted after several delays, as council members tried to convince Russia, a strong advocate of the Assad regime.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vassily Nebenzia claimed that "thousands of terrorists" remained in Eastern Ghouta.
The suburb has been under siege for the last five years and humanitarian access to the area, which is home to 400,000 people, has been completely cut off.
In the past eight months, forces of the Assad regime have intensified their siege, making it nearly impossible for food or medicine to get into the district, leaving thousands of patients in need of treatment.
According to the White Helmets civil defense agency, regime attacks have killed 389 people in Eastern Ghouta in the past six days.
Syria has been locked in a devastating conflict since early 2011 when the 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.