Erdoğan spokesman: UN should stop ‘massacre’ in Syria’s Ghouta district

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Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin (Berk Ozkan / Anadolu Agency)

The United Nations should end a “massacre” by Syria’s government in eastern Ghouta, the spokesman for Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said ahead of a UN Security Council vote on Saturday on a demand for a 30-day cease-fire in Syria, Reuters reported.

A draft resolution aimed at ending a deadly pro-government bombing campaign in the eastern Ghouta district and elsewhere in Syria was delayed by the UN Security Council on Friday after a flurry of last-minute negotiations caused a 24-hour delay.

The ceasefire will be put to the vote in the 15-member council at noon on Saturday.

Turkey, one of the main backers of rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, on Saturday called for the world to jointly put an end to one of the deadliest pro-government bombing campaigns targeting rebels in the seven-year Syrian civil war.

“The Assad regime is carrying out a massacre in eastern Ghouta… A vote will be held in the UNSC for the attacks to end and aid to be delivered. The whole world should jointly say ‘stop’ to this massacre,” Erdoğan’s spokesman, İbrahim Kalın, tweeted.

Warplanes pounded the eastern Ghouta rebel enclave again on Saturday, the seventh day in a row of a fierce escalation by Damascus and its allies, an emergency service, a witness and a monitoring group said, according to Reuters.

A surge of rocket fire, shelling and air strikes has killed nearly 500 people since Sunday night, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The dead included more than 120 children.

Previous cease-fires have had a poor record of ending fighting in Syria, where Assad’s forces have gained the upper hand with support from Russia, which has a history of standing in the way of Security Council measures that would harm Assad’s interests.

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