Negotiations follow appeal by Macron and Merkel urging Putin to stop blocking resolution
The UN security council failed to agree after a second day of intensive talks on a proposed 30-day ceasefire across Syria to allow for emergency humanitarian deliveries and medical evacuations.
Backroom negotiations continued throughout the day on Friday. One deadline passed after another, as other council members tried to persuade Russia to agree to a resolution. The talks at the UN headquarters in New York followed an appeal by French and German leaders to Vladimir Putin, asking for Russia to stop blocking the measure’s passage, pointing to the dire situation of the trapped civilian population in the rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus.
Syria’s second city, Aleppo, fell into government hands in December 2016 after four years of resistance from rebels, who at one point held large chunks of the ancient metropolis. But the costs to the city and its people were huge, as hundreds of Russian and Syrian air raids pulverised entire neighbourhoods.
In an attempt to convey the desperate and unyielding misery, the United Nations Children’s Fund released a blank statement on 20 February. A footnote said the agency has no words to describe the “children’s suffering and our outrage”.
Eastern Ghouta is the last rebel-held enclave bordering the Syrian capital, Damascus. Since 2013, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have imposed a suffocating and deadly siege on the area. Yet several insurgent factions have retained control.