New Syrian-Russian offensive kills more than 400 civilians in Eastern Ghouta

New Syrian-Russian offensive kills more than 400 civilians in Eastern Ghouta

The UN Security Council delayed a vote on demanding a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to Saturday at noon (1700 GMT) after hours of negotiations failed to yield agreement with Russian Federation, diplomats said.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said the USA is monitoring the situation in Syria, where more than 400 civilians were killed in the last five days in the regime-led air strikes and bombardments in rebel controlled areas.

On Friday, the densely populated enclave was bombed for a sixth straight day, witnesses said.

"For the resolution to be effective, and we are ready to negotiate such a text, we have put forward a principle that will enable the ceasefire to become real and based on guarantees of all those inside Eastern Ghouta and beyond Eastern Ghouta", he added.

Security Council President Mansour Al-Otaibi said members were "very close" to closing the gaps, but didn't elaborate on the main point of disagreement.

At least 462 people have been killed since the bombing intensified last week, including at least 99 children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Al-Otaibi said negotiations were centered on the language of one paragraph that specifically demands a cessation of hostilities for 30 days, possibly starting 72 hours after adoption, to allow aid access and medical evacuations.

The delay followed a flurry of last-minute negotiations on the text drafted by Sweden and Kuwait after Russian Federation, a veto-holding ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, proposed new amendments.

Russian Federation has been a main backer for Syrian President Bashar Assad and has joined the battle on his side since 2015, tipping the balance of power in his favor.

Britain's Jobless Rate Rises, to 4.4%, for First Time in 2 Years
But workers are seeing their wages increase, with average earnings up 2.5 per cent past year , according to the latest estimates. The former have been constrained by a sharp rise in inflation that was due to the fall in the pound following the referendum.

Russian Federation has vetoed 11 draft resolutions on Syria that targeted its ally in Damascus.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron wrote to Putin to ask him to back the ceasefire.

The Syrian National Coalition on Friday urged the United Nations to take action to end the Bashar Assad regime's massacres in Eastern Ghouta.

"We categorically reject any initiative providing for inhabitants to leave their homes and be transferred towards any other location", they said in a letter addressed to Guterres.

U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has called again for an urgent ceasefire to relieve the "appalling suffering" of civilians in eastern suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus by stopping the bombing there and the "indiscriminate" mortar shelling of Syria's capital Damascus.

"At the same time, there is no answer to the question "Where is the guarantee that militants will hold that humanitarian pause and that they will not shell Damascus" residential areas?'", he said.

Mr Skoog said earlier: "It is about saving lives".

More than 2,000 people have been wounded.

"The UN says it is concerned and calls for a ceasefire, France condemns, but they have given us nothing", said Abu Mustafa, one of the few civilians on the streets of Douma Friday morning.

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