US ready to act in Syria as fighting worsens despite weeks old UN truce

World Today

Fighting in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region has become more intense.

The situation has escalated since the United Nations demanded a cease-fire last month. Now, the U.N. Secretary-General wants action to get aid in and the injured out. He made his case during Monday’s Security Council meeting.

CGTN’s John Terrett explains the options outlined during the Security Council meeting to address the crisis.

The United States is urging the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution ordering an immediate 30-day cease-fire in the Syrian capital Damascus and the suburbs of eastern Ghouta. The U.S. draft would eliminate what U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called a “loophole” in the February 24 resolution that allows military operations against al-Qaida and Islamist State extremist groups.

Haley accused Syria and its Russian allies of exploiting this loophole “to continue starving and pummeling hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians.”

The draft resolution requires all parties to allow “safe, unimpeded and sustained access” for humanitarian convoys and for medical evacuations. It also stresses that any movement of civilians must be “voluntary and to appropriate final destinations of their choice.” And it asks U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “to urgently develop proposals” to monitor a cease-fire and civilian movements from eastern Ghouta.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador said an immediate cease-fire in Syria “would have been utopian” and that Moscow prefers a preliminary agreement ahead of sustained de-escalation in all areas, not just the suburbs of Damascus. Vassily Nebenzia told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that “this is the only realistic way forward,” and that it was part of a cease-fire adopted by the council last month. He said Russia is trying to implement that cease-fire, which has done little to stop the heavy fighting in eastern Ghouta, outside the capital.

He defended Syrian and Russian military operations there, saying “the suburbs of Damascus cannot remain a hotbed of terrorism.” He accused militants, including those linked to al-Qaida, of undermining the cease-fire.

Kamal Alam discusses the fight for Eastern Ghouta

Kamal Alam, a visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, discusses the latest developments in the fight for Eastern Ghouta with CGTN’s Asieh Namdar.