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Destroyed buildings in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta Destroyed buildings in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta   (AFP or licensors)

UN chief calls for halt to Syria bloodshed

As bombs continued to fall on the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres demanded on Monday that the Syria cease-fire resolution that the Security Council adopted unanimously over the weekend take effect immediately.

By Nathan Morley

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that resolutions issued by the Security Council for a cease-fire in Syria are only meaningful if they are implemented.

The resolution, which was passed on Saturday, was pushed into the background as violence continued in Syria, despite Guterres making a public and emphatic demand for a cessation of hostilities.

"I expect the resolution to be immediately implemented and sustained, particularly to ensure the immediate, safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services, the evacuation of the critically sick and wounded", Guterres said.

The UN reported renewed air-strikes Monday, as Syrian television transmitted live pictures of the Damascus suburb of Harasta being hit by artillery fire.

Last week Syrian government forces launched an operation to take control of Eastern Ghouta, with the full extent of the damage to civilian life and property remaining unclear.

Rebels and medical workers say over 500 people have been killed during the week. Many civilians trapped in the fighting are sheltering in cellars and basements.

The military action is seen as a prelude to a big ground offensive. The rebel-held enclave of Ghouta, where 400,000 civilians are trapped, has been continuously prevented from receiving international aid.

Listen to Nathan Morley's report
26 February 2018, 17:52