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UN Security Council to vote Saturday on Syria ceasefire

24 February 2018

"The European Union is running out of words to describe the horror being experienced by the people of Eastern Ghouta".

"We have not been able to close the gap completely", Olof Skoog, Sweden's United Nations ambassador, told reporters.

Medical charities say more than a dozen hospitals were hit, making it almost impossible to treat the wounded. Its backers, Russian Federation and Iran, are allowing this to happen.

Lavrov pointed out that the UN Security Council "is attempting to pass a resolution declaring a 30-day humanitarian pause should be established immediately". Let's do this tonight.

In four points, the leaflet instructed civilians to "avoid getting close to the crossing point while armed; stop within eyesight of the checkpoint, raise this leaflet over your head and place your other hand on your head or in the hand of your child; wait for a sign from a member of the Syrian Arab Army, turn around and show your back; face forward and approach the exit slowly".

The 24-hour delay followed a flurry of last-minute negotiations on the text drafted by Sweden and Kuwait after Russian Federation, a veto-holding ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, proposed new amendments on Friday. In November, it used its veto to end a UN-led investigation of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

But negotiations were held up over a number of issues, including when the ceasefire should begin.

The final draft of the Swedish-Kuwait resolution orders the cease-fire to start 72 hours after the resolution' adoption.

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He said the council will meet at noon EST (1700 GMT) on Saturday.

In a concession to Russian Federation, the draft resolution states that the ceasefire will not apply to operations against the Islamic State group or Al-Qaeda, along with "individuals, groups, undertakings and entities" associated with the terror groups.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also had urged an immediate suspension of "all war activities" in eastern Ghouta, saying 400,000 people are living "in hell on Earth".

Sweden's ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog, said he too was frustrated by the delays but that members are working really hard to find "a meaningful but consensual resolution".

"Every day we have strikes, destruction". Along with jihadi Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Islamist groups Ahrar al-Sham, Failaq al-Rahman and Jaysh al-Islam were also active in the battle against the Syrian military and its allies.

The main rebel groups in Eastern Ghouta rejected in a statement released on Friday any deal that would see them or other residents relocated.

The area is completely surrounded by government-controlled territory and residents are unwilling or unable to flee the deadly siege.

U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has called again for an urgent ceasefire to relieve the "appalling suffering" of civilians in eastern suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus by stopping the bombing there and the "indiscriminate" mortar shelling of Syria's capital Damascus.

UN Security Council to vote Saturday on Syria ceasefire