After hinting it would use its veto power at a UN Security Council session, Russia demanded on Thursday the amendment of main clauses in a draft resolution proposed by Kuwait and Sweden for a 30-day humanitarian ceasefire in Syria.
Moscow, which distributed on Thursday a new version of the draft resolution, said it could back the measure if it did not apply to ISIS and al-Nusra Front.
In the new text, a copy of which was obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, Russia also “denounced the shelling from eastern Ghouta on residential areas in the city of Damascus.”
Therefore, Moscow’s text ignores mounting international calls to stop violence across Syria and allows the Syrian regime offensive to continue against Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Idlib, the last province in Syria outside the control of Damascus.
Some observers predicted that members of the Security Council would vote Friday on the amended version of the draft resolution. However, there were still no assertions whether it could win Moscow’s backing.
On Thursday, the US, France and other Security Council members condemned the Russian position, which backs the Syrian regime in its deadly assault on the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate halt to “war activities” and said life for the 400,000 civilians of eastern Ghouta had become “hell on earth.”
Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi described the resolution drafted by his country and Sweden as “clear and simple.”
On the battlefield, the death toll in five days of airstrikes and shelling on eastern Ghouta reached more than 400, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Thursday.
More than 2,116 were wounded from the assault by Syrian regime forces and their allies, it said.
Doctors Without Borders said 13 hospitals and clinics that it supports were damaged or destroyed over the past three days.