Russia blames Ghouta 'truce' failure on Syrian opposition

Russia blames Ghouta 'truce' failure on Syrian opposition
Despite a UN 30-day ceasefire and subsequent five-hour daily 'truce', the death toll continues to rise in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.
2 min read
28 February, 2018
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva [Getty]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed on Wednesday that rebels in Eastern Ghouta were responsible for ensuring that a "humanitarian pause" in the area delivers relief for devastated civilians, reported AFP.

"Russia together with the Syrian government have already announced the establishment of humanitarian corridors in Eastern Ghouta," Lavrov told UN Human Rights Council.

"Now, it is the turn for the militants and their sponsors to act, militants entrenched there who still continue shelling Damascus, blocking aid deliveries and the evacuation of those wishing to leave," he added.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday ordered a daily five-hour "pause" of fighting in Eastern Ghouta. 

The daily truce falls far short of a 30-day UN ceasefire Russia agreed to at the UN Security Council on Saturday.

Russia had previously vetoed 10 security council resolutions related to Syria, its ally. But after securing amendments at the UN to not cover fighters from the Islamic State group and Tahrir al-Sham, Moscow agreed.

World leaders have frequently accused Russia and the Syrian regime of using the pretext of fighting terrorism to target civilians.

On Tuesday, the first day of the five-hour daily truce, at least seven were killed. 

Lavrov said today that the Security Council resolution could alleviate suffering across Syria, but suggested the Syrian opposition was holding up efforts.

"We call upon the members of the so-called American coalition to ensure the same humanitarian access to the areas in Syria under their control."