Wave of airstrikes and shelling targets Syrian opposition

At least three people reported dead in eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus

Humanitarian agencies are calling for an urgent ceasefire in the besieged Syrian enclave of eastern Ghouta after several days of bombardment by pro-regime forces. Irish Times Middle East analyst Michael Jansen reports. Footage: Syria Civil Defence, Reuters


Syrian opposition activists have reported a new wave of airstrikes and shelling on eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus, leaving three people dead and more than a dozen wounded.

Saturday’s bombardment comes after the UN Security Council delayed a vote on a resolution demanding a 30-day humanitarian ceasefire across Syria in hopes of closing a gap over the timing for a halt to fighting.

A vote is scheduled for later on Saturday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Ghouta Media Centre, an activist collective, said the airstrikes hit several suburbs of the capital killing three in the town of Harasta.

The Observatory said that since the latest wave of bombardment began on Sunday, 474 civilians - including 114 children - have been killed in the region known as eastern Ghouta.

Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia has called an immediate ceasefire unrealistic, and in an apparent bid to get Russian support, sponsors Kuwait and Sweden amended the draft resolution to drop a demand that the ceasefire takes effect 72 hours after the resolution’s adoption.

Instead, the new text circulated on Friday night “demands that all parties cease hostilities without delay”.

The latest draft resolution says a ceasefire must be followed immediately by access for humanitarian convoys and medical teams to evacuate the critically ill and wounded.

Russia has been a main backer of President Bashar Assad since the Syrian conflict began seven years ago.

In 2015, Moscow joined the war on Mr Assad’s side tipping the balance of power in his favour. - AP