A ceasefire has been agreed for Syria, but it remains an aspiration on the ground. Dictator Bashar Assad’s assault on rebel-held suburbs of his own capital continued on Monday.
The Assad regime’s bombardment of the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus have been some of the most aggressive assaults of the seven-year Syrian civil war.
Scores of victims, including young children and infants, have been treated at hospitals and clinics in cut-off parts of Ghouta. The facilities are often hit themselves by the indiscriminate airstrikes.
While the intensity of strikes lessened slightly over the weekend, forces allied with the Syrian government continued bombing the Damascus suburbs in spite of the United Nations-brokered ceasefire approved on Saturday.
The 30-day ceasefire agreement did not specify a start time — apparently the result of lobbying by Syria’s ally Russia. Later on Monday, however, Russia’s defense minister said President Vladimir Putin had ordered daily five-hour “humanitarian pauses” in eastern Ghouta, to begin from Tuesday.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a statement that the ceasefires would be in place between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time every day, beginning Tuesday. He said Russia would also help establish an evacuation route for civilians from the area.
There was no immediate reaction to the Russia proclamation from other U.N. Security Council members, or the Syrian regime.
It is estimated that more than 500 people, including at least 130 children, have been killed since this latest assault began last week in the eastern Ghouta suburbs. According to the international medical charity Doctors Without Borders, more than 630 have been killed since the onslaught ramped-up on Feb. 18.
( Some online sources were used in this Article: CBSNEWS and The Gardian)