Putin to Macron, Merkel: Syrian Truce Doesn't Apply to Anti-Terror Ops

Putin to Macron, Merkel: Syrian Truce Doesn't Apply to Anti-Terror Ops

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Major General Mohammad Mohammad Bagheri discussed the 30-day Syrian ceasefire resolution that was adopted by the UN Security Council on Saturday, adding "this time, too, like the previous times, those who do not want security and peace for Syria, began pushing for a ceasefire to shield terrorists as soon as they realized that the Syrian Army and Government were planning to cleanse the Damascus suburb of the presence of terrorists".

The ten elected non-permanent members (E10) of the UN Security Council pushed the five permanent members (P5) to reach a compromise and got a unanimous vote on a resolution ordering a ceasefire "without delay" in Syria to allow humanitarian aid to reach areas under siege.

Rescuers in Eastern Ghouta said the bombing would not let up long enough for them to count the bodies, in one of the bloodiest air assaults of the seven-year war.

"As the text (of the United Nations resolution) says, parts of the suburbs of Damascus, which are specifically controlled by the terrorists of the Nusra Front and other terrorist groups, are not subject to ceasefire", Baqeri said, according to state news agency IRNA.

"Our government will reserve the right to respond as it deems appropriate in case those terrorist arms groups are targeting civilians in any part of Syria with even one single missile", Ja'afari said.

The government side appears to be justifying its attacks based on this exclusion, saying it is at war against terrorism.

Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years, which has brought the district to the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.

"You can't fight evil with another evil", he said, asking his listeners to join together in a moment of silent prayer.

The UN vote was initially expected to be held Thursday, but was repeatedly delayed as diplomats were locked in tough negotiations to avoid a veto from Russian Federation, which is militarily supporting Assad. "It will be respected neither by the regime nor Russian Federation", said Douma resident Abu Mazen.

After three days of deliberation to come up with a ceasefire deal, the U.N. Security Counsel yesterday voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling for a 30-day calm to allow residents of the suburb to evacuate, and food and medicine to enter.

Reports said the sponsors of the resolution, Kuwait and Sweden, amended the text to get Russian support, dropping a demand that the truce take effect in 72 hours and stating "without delay" instead.

The UN says almost 400,000 people live in the region, a pocket of satellite towns and farms under government siege for more than four years.

First responders in eastern Ghouta rushed to look for survivors after air raids on Beit Sawa and Saqba, said the Civil Defence service which operates in rebel territory.

After the United Nations vote the two dominant rebel factions in Ghouta - Failaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam - both committed to implement the truce and facilitate aid access, but also reiterated their right to respond to any attacks on them.

Control of Eastern Ghouta is shared between two main factions, while Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate is also present.

State media said insurgents breached the truce by firing 15 shells Sunday on government-held areas on the edge of Ghouta.

The cease-fire is meant to allow emergency aid to be delivered and medical evacuations to take place in some of the country's hardest-hit regions, such as Ghouta, the rebel-controlled eastern suburb of the capital, Damascus, which has been pounded by government warplanes for more than a week.

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