UN Calls for End of Eastern Ghouta Crisis

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded an immediate end to fighting in the Eastern Ghouta in Syria, describing it as “hell on earth”, BBC reports. Guterres told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that “Eastern Ghouta cannot wait” any longer.

The council is now being urged to consider a resolution which calls for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria. Eastern Ghouta has been under fierce bombardment from government forces backed by Russian airpower.

According to the Syrian military, they are trying to liberate the area from what it terms terrorists – but it has also been accused of targeting civilians. “This is a human tragedy that is unfolding in front of our eyes and I don’t think we can let things go on happening in this horrendous way,” Guterres stressed.

The UN Secretary General noted that an end to the fighting would allow the evacuation of hundreds of people who require urgent treatment as well as allowing humanitarian aid to reach the region. The draft UN Security Council resolution, proposed by Kuwait and Sweden, is designed to facilitate medical evacuations and deliveries of humanitarian aid.

U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, stressed that immediate action was needed to save civilian lives from the “barbaric Assad regime.” Meanwhile Iran, who is an ally to the Syrian government, said it is in close contact with Syria, Russia and Turkey to try to reduce tension in the enclave of Eastern Ghouta.