Russia has ordered a five-hour ‘humanitarian pause’ in the Syrian rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta near Damascus. The truce has been set up to allow civilians to leave eastern Ghouta, after an eight-day surge of government bombardment has killed more than 500 people, including more than 120 children, according to reports.
However, human rights workers claim that while there has been no violence in Ghouta, there have been no immediate signs of any corridors set up for people to use. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said calm had generally prevailed in eastern Ghouta overnight, though four rockets had hit the nearby town of Douma in the morning before the five-hour window began at 9am local time (7am GMT).
The Russian defence ministry said on Monday the measures, decided in agreement with Syrian forces, were intended to help civilians leave and to evacuate the sick and wounded. A spokesperson for the international Red Cross said that in order for a humanitarian corridor to work, it needs to be well planned and implemented with the consent of all parties in the conflict.
The five-hour respite announced by the Syrian government’s Russian ally, is nowhere near the month-long ceasefire ordered by the UN this weekend.Eastern Ghouta is a rebel stronghold on the edge of the capital Damascus which has been outside government control since 2012 and is thought to be home to some 400,000 civilians.
Syria, (Daily Mail),