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Russia and US doubt Syria ceasefire will achieve much

THE UNITED NATIONS security council unanimously adopted a resolution at the weekend proposing a 30-day humanitarian ceasefire in Syria, but both Russia and the US voiced doubts over what it might achieve.

“It would be naive to think that internal Syrian questions can be solved by a resolution,” said Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia after the vote.

He explained that Moscow had “supported the intentions” behind the document, but no ceasefire was possible “without agreement from warring parties.”

Mr Nebenzia criticised the “occupying ambitions” of the US-backed coalition, insisting that foreign-backed militias bore responsibility for the humanitarian crisis that the resolution was written to address.

He reiterated earlier accusations that the West was conducting a “propaganda campaign” against government forces in eastern Ghouta where fighting has intensified over the past week.

Both Moscow and Damascus maintain that eastern Ghouta is a stronghold for terrorist groups.

His US counterpart Nikki Haley slammed Russia for “obstructing the voting” on the resolution, which was submitted on Tuesday, and demanded immediate implementation.

"The Syrian people should not have to die waiting for Russia to organise instructions from Moscow or discuss it with the Syrians," said Ms Haley, adding that Washington is “deeply sceptical that the Assad regime will comply” and claiming that “credibility of the UN security council is at stake.”

Syrian armed forces began a long-awaited offensive in eastern Ghouta this morning, concentrating their efforts against positions defended by Faylaq Al-Rahman and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham in Harasta.

They also stormed the Jobar suburb in the western part of East Ghouta.

Al-Masdar News reported later that the army had taken control of several localities, including Hawsh Dawahra after a short battle with the jihadist rebels of Jaysh Al-Islam, and was pushing further west in a bid to clear large farms south-east of the strategic city of Douma.

Capturing a large hilltop at Tal Farzat, which overlooks several towns in East Ghouta, enabled troops to advance east towards Al-Nashabiyah and impose full control over the towns of Al-Salihiyah and Hazrama, putting them at the outskirts of nearby Utaya.

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