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Syrians in eastern Ghouta living in ‘hell on earth’ – U.N.

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Updated: 10:18 GMT, Feb 22, 2018 | Published: 10:17 GMT, Feb 22, 2018 |
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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Wednesday (February 21) for an “immediate suspension of all war activities in eastern Ghouta“. Speaking to the U.N. Security Council Guterres said residents were living in “hell on earth”.

Residents of Syria’s eastern Ghouta district said they were waiting their “turn to die” amid one of the most intense bombardments of the war by pro-government forces on the besieged, rebel-held enclave near Damascus.

At least 38 people died on Wednesday. At least 310 people have been killed in the district since Sunday (February 18) night and more than 1,550 injured, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.

The eastern Ghouta, a densely populated agricultural district on the Damascus outskirts, is the last major area near the capital still under rebel control. Home to 400,000 people, it has been besieged by government forces for years.

A massive escalation in bombardment, including rocket fire, shelling, air strikes and helicopter-dropped barrel bombs, since Sunday has become one of the deadliest of the Syrian civil war, now entering its eighth year.

The United Nations has denounced the bombardment, which has struck hospitals and other civilian infrastructure, saying such attacks could be war crimes.

Guterres expressed support for a Swedish and Kuwaiti push for the 15-member council to demand a 30-day ceasefire in Syria. Diplomats said the council could vote on a draft resolution in the coming days. But Assad’s veto-wielding ally Russia has called the proposal “not realistic”.

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