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UN chief urges Russia, Turkey and Iran to ensure ceasefire in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

Nearly 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta have been subjected to airstrikes, shelling and bombardment, according to the UN

UN, February 21. /TASS/. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls on Russia, Iran and Turkey to ensure ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta, a militant-controlled suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said in a statement.

Eastern Ghouta is among the de-escalation zones established on May 4, 2017 by three states guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire - Russia, Iran and Turkey. The UN has repeatedly expressed its concerns by the situation in the region and urged to ensure humanitarian access to the area.

"Eastern Ghouta is part of a de-escalation agreement reached in Astana. The Secretary-General reminds all parties, particularly the guarantors of the Astana agreements, of their commitments in this regard," Dujarric said in a statement.

According to the statement, "nearly 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta have been subjected to airstrikes, shelling and bombardment." About 100 people were killed in the besieged area since Monday, including at least 13 children. Five hospitals or medical clinics in the area were hit by airstrikes in the reported period. Over 700 individuals require immediate medical evacuation. Meanwhile, there were also reports of shelling from Eastern Ghouta on Damascus.

The United Nations has repeatedly called for a cessation of hostilities to enable humanitarian aid deliveries, and the evacuation of the sick and wounded, the statement reads.

"The Secretary-General urges all stakeholders to ensure that basic principles of international humanitarian law are adhered to, including unhindered humanitarian access, unconditional medical evacuations, and the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure," the document continues.