Fresh airstrikes take Syria death toll close to 500

Damascus: Air strikes hit the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta for the seventh straight day on Saturday after the United Nations (UN) again delayed a vote on a ceasefire.

At least 21 civilians were killed in fresh strikes on Eastern Ghouta today, including 12 in the main town of Douma.

Nearly 500 people, including 100 children, have died and hundreds more injured in the last seven days, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Moreover, the scale of the attacks from barrel bombs and other missiles is making it hard to find and count the dead, The Guardian quoted rescuers as saying.

According to sources, the strikes are being carried out by Syrian and Russian forces.

Moscow, which intervened militarily in support of its Damascus ally in 2015, has denied any direct involvement in the Eastern Ghouta bombardment.

Earlier today, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) delayed a vote on a demand for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria and has put it back until Saturday.

The vote has already been reportedly delayed several times since Thursday.

The resolution aims at ending the carnage in the eastern Ghouta district and elsewhere in Syria.

After a vote was scheduled and delayed three times, the Security Council members were unable to settle on language that could gain Russia’s support, the Washington Post reported.

As a permanent member of the council, Russia has veto power, and has used it 11 times to protect the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the report said.

“Unbelievable that Russia is stalling a vote on a ceasefire allowing humanitarian access in Syria,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley posted on Twitter.

The draft put forward by Kuwait and Sweden, calls for a nationwide truce to go into effect 72 hours after the resolution is passed. Medical evacuations and aid deliveries would start 48 hours after that.

According to the report, at least 700 sick and injured people are believed to be in need of medical evacuation to hospitals only a few miles away in Damascus.

Robert Mardini, the top representative for the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Middle East, said he was “shocked” by the level of violence around Eastern Ghouta and called for immediate access to its civilians. (ANI)