UNITED NATIONS — Russia and Syria clashed with the U.S. and its Western allies Wednesday over responsibility for the failure of a cease-fire to take hold in Syria as the U.N. said humanitarian convoys are ready to head to 10 locations including besieged eastern Ghouta near the capital Damascus.

The contentious Security Council meeting four days after members adopted a resolution demanding a cease-fire “without delay” for at least 30 days throughout Syria to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate the critically ill and wounded reflected frustration and anger on both sides at the continued fighting and bombing.

U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock asked council members: “When will your resolution be implemented?” And U.N. political chief Jeffrey Feltman urged all 193 U.N. member states “to use their influence with the parties to ensure implementation of the cessation of hostilities.”

Lowcock said convoys are ready to go to 10 besieged and hard-to-reach locations including 45 trucks with aid for 90,000 people in Douma in eastern Ghouta. He said that since Feb. 18 over 580 people are reported to have been killed and well over 1,000 injured in air and ground strikes in the Damascus, home to about 400,000 people.

Lowcock also warned that delivery of aid across conflict lines to millions of people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas throughout Syria “has totally collapsed.”

“Unless this changes,” he declared, “we will soon see even more people dying from starvation and disease than from the bombing and the shelling.”

Russia ordered a five-hour daily humanitarian pause starting Tuesday to allow civilians to exit eastern Ghouta. But no civilians have left, and no humanitarian aid has entered.

Lowcock reiterated the International Committee of the Red Cross’ assessment that it is impossible to deliver humanitarian aid in five hours, noting that it often takes convoys with all the required clearances a day just to get through checkpoints.

Kelley Currie, the U.S. ambassador for economic and social affairs, called a five-hour pause “cynical, callous, and in flagrant defiance of the demands” for a cessation of hostilities “for at least 30 days – every day, all day.”

“Russia does not get to unilaterally rewrite the terms of the resolution they negotiated and they sat here and voted for,” she said.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.