Smoke rises from the rebel held besieged town of Hamouriyeh, eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, February 21, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/BASSAM KHABIEH)
The UN Human Rights Council was expected to call Friday on the Syrian authorities to allow humanitarian aid to reach the 400,000 people trapped in eastern Ghouta.
Hundreds of people have died in 11 days of bombing of eastern Ghouta, a swath of towns and farms that is the last major rebel-controlled area near Damascus.
The Syrian Army and its allies carried out ground assaults on the edge of eastern Ghouta on Thursday.
In response to the deteriorating situation, the United Kingdom called for an urgent debate on the matter. The council’s bureau immediately approved the request, but final announcement of the debate will be made only on Friday morning.
A draft resolution put forward on Thursday during the Human Rights Council’s 37th session in Geneva “strongly condemns the sustained denial of humanitarian access, repeated attacks against medical facilities and other civilian infrastructure, and any indiscriminate use of heavy weapons and aerial bombardments, including cluster munitions, incendiary weapons, and barrel bombs, and the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian authorities against civilians in the Syrian Arab Republic, including against the people living in eastern Ghouta.”
It calls for a halt to attacks against civilians in Ghouta, particularly the use of cluster munitions, barrel bombs and the use of chemical weapons.
The resolution calls for those who violated international humanitarian law to be held accountable.
It also demands that “the Syrian authorities allow free, unimpeded and sustained access by the United Nations and humanitarian operators to all people in need, including immediate access for aid deliveries and medical evacuations to and from eastern Ghouta, and protection of medical and other humanitarian personnel, facilities and transport.”
Reuters contributed to this report.