U.S. pushes United Nations for Ghouta truce as Trump considers Syria options


USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley unloaded on Russian officials Monday over their inability to rein in widespread violence across Syria; warning the Security Council the U.S. is "prepared to act" to defend civilians in the war-torn nation.

"This is no ceasefire". It contains no counterterrorism loopholes for Assad, Iran and the Russians to hide behind, she stressed when presenting the resolution, saying that the previous one had "failed".

Haley compared the current situation in Syria to a period past year when the Syrian government's chemical weapon attacks led the U.S.to launch a missile attack against the Syrian military.

"We warn any nation determined to impose its will through chemical attacks and inhuman suffering, but most especially the outlaw Syrian regime, the United States remains prepared to act if we must", Haley said.

"It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again", Haley told the 15-member Security Council.

"When the worldwide community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action", she said on Monday.

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"No sieges have been lifted", Guterres said.

The draft resolution would allow "safe, unimpeded and sustained access" for humanitarian aid convoys and "safe, unconditional, medical evacuations in Eastern Ghouta".

Seven years of conflict in Syria have left more than 350,000 people dead, according to an updated overall death toll compiled by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman said the United Nations was not part of that deal and still called for the urgent evacuation of more than 1,000 sick and wounded people in eastern Ghouta.

"The Syrian government has every right to do away with the security threat to its citizens".

Reviewing his annual report at a Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Zeid bin Ra'ad, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the indiscriminate and brutal attacks against civilians in the eastern Ghouta can not be justified no matter what, dismissing the Syrian regime's false claims that it took precautions to protect civilians as "ridiculous", and stressing the need to take the matter to the International Criminal Court.

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Russian Federation says it is targeting specific jihadist groups that were excluded from the ceasefire by the previous resolution, adding that it has offered to evacuate civilians.

Although the Security Council demanded a 30-day ceasefire in February, violence has continued to wage throughout eastern Ghouta and the suburbs of Damascus.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the council on Monday that since the adoption of the February ceasefire resolution, which was drafted by Sweden and Kuwait, "there has been no cessation of hostilities".

French Ambassador Francois Delattre piled pressure on Russian Federation to halt operations and push the Syrian government to end its offensive, saying "Russia can stop the bloodbath".

"We have heard hints of that in the statements of some delegations today", Nebenzia said.

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