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Putin orders daily 'humanitarian pause' in besieged Eastern Ghouta

Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes have repeatedly targeted health facilities in Eastern Ghouta. [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 February, 2018

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More than 520 civilians are thought to have been killed in a week of heavy bombardment in Eastern Ghouta, just outside Damascus, by Syria's regime.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a daily "humanitarian pause" to brutal airstrikes on the besieged Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta from Tuesday, Moscow's defence minister said on Monday.

More than 520 civilians are thought to have been killed in a week of heavy bombardment in Eastern Ghouta, just outside Damascus, by Syria's regime.

"On the instructions of the Russian president, with the goal of avoiding civilian casualties in Eastern Ghouta, from February 27 - tomorrow - from 9.00 to 14.00 there will be a humanitarian pause," minister Sergei Shoigu said at a ministry meeting, according to a statement sent to AFP

He said there should be similar pauses in the southern Al-Tanf border region and Rukban, near the Jordanian border, "so that civilians can return to their homes unhindered and begin to rebuild their civilian lives".

Russia has denied airstrikes on the enclave have killed civilians and insisted groups attacked by regime and allied forces are associated with terrorists.

Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes have repeatedly targeted health facilities in the enclave, rights groups have said.

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières reported that 13 medical facilities it supports in the region have been bombed or shelled.

The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously demanded a 30-day truce in Syria.

Russia is a key ally of Assad and fought a campaign for over two years in Syria in his support, helping to turn around the multi-front war.



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