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UN Security Council to vote on Syria ceasefire

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    Agence France-Presse

United Nations, United States   /   Fri, February 23, 2018   /   04:45 pm
 UN Security Council to vote on Syria ceasefire Smoke billows following Syrian government bombardments on Kafr Batna, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on Feb. 22, 2018. (Agence France -Presse/Amer Almohibany)

The UN Security Council will vote Friday at 1600 GMT on a draft resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow for deliveries of humanitarian aid and medical evacuations, diplomats said.

A slightly amended text was circulated to council members, but it was unclear whether Russia would support the measure.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told a council meeting on Thursday that there was "no agreement" on a truce and presented a new raft of amendments.

Negotiations on the draft have dragged on as hundreds of Syrians have died in a fierce government air campaign in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

Sweden and Kuwait presented the proposed measure on February 9.

The latest text softens language in a key provision to say that the council "demands" a ceasefire, instead of "decides".

It also specifies that the ceasefire will not apply to "individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated" with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. A previous version simply mentioned the two terror groups.

More than 400 people have been killed in the five-day assault by the government on Eastern Ghouta, where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said 400,000 Syrians are living in "hell on earth."

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