Haley issues strong call to UN Security Council to get aid to Syria's Eastern Ghouta region

After Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s military forces and allies Wednesday pounded civilians and infrastructure, including hospitals, in Eastern Ghouta, United States United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley called on her Security Council colleagues to support a UN resolution to get humanitarian supplies to those in need.

Haley urged members of the Security Council to pass a draft resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire so aid can get to the worst hit areas.

Her statement read in part, “It’s time to take immediate action in the hopes of saving the lives of the men, women, and children who are under attack by the barbaric Assad regime. It is simply preposterous to claim that these attacks on civilians have anything to do with fighting terrorism. The Security Council must move to adopt a resolution establishing a ceasefire. The United States will support it, as should every member of the council.”

Haley’s statement noted comments by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres who said that the 400,000 civilians trapped in Eastern Ghouta were living in a “hell on earth.” Haley’s statement concluded, “As the Secretary-General warned us all, Eastern Ghouta cannot wait.”

Speaking to Fox News via Whatsapp from the carnage of Eastern Ghouta in an interview arranged by the Syrian American Council, Mahmoud Bwedany, a 20-year student activist said that in the last 72 hours there have been more than 260 confirmed dead civilians, including women and children, and over 2000 have been injured.

Speaking from what he said was an underground shelter he was sleeping in to avoid the attacks, he claimed the Assad regime is deliberately targeting important areas and has used starvation as a tactic by bombing the main bakery near Douma city. He also said Assad is targeting medical clinics being used to treat civilians.

Bwedany had a message to the Security Council: “Give us the chance to live a normal life and not to fear death and starvation every moment, and see children dying. I want to say we have been hearing a lot of promises and not a lot of action.”

Security Council members Kuwait and Sweden are co-sponsors of a draft resolution that was introduced on February 9.

The draft resolution calls for a cessation of hostilities to let aid convoys safely enter the most at risk areas to begin for a period of 30 days.

It is not yet known if Russia, Assad’s biggest backer, will block a possible vote Thursday. Russia has so far used its veto ten times to protect the Assad regime at the Security Council.

Earlier this month Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told Fox News that his country was not acting as an aggressor in Syria since it was invited by “the legitimate Syrian government to defend terrorists, which we did since 2015, while the U.S. was never invited to Syria.” Nebenzia concluded by asking aloud who was the aggressor?

Bassam Rifai a spokesman for the Syrian American Council, a group that supports an end to the Assad regime, said he can’t see Russia supporting the draft resolution that is expected to come up for a vote but even if did pass, “it won’t matter.”

 Rifai added, “We’ve seen Assad ignore his own ceasefires. A UN brokered ceasefire is useless.  A show of force is the only thing that will slow the killing.”


Ben Evansky reports for Fox News on the United Nations and international affairs.

He can be followed @BenEvansky