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"Calmest night" for eastern Ghouta following UN ceasefire resolution

Civil defense help a man from a shelter in the besieged town of Douma in eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, February 22, 2018.

Kuwait's UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaiba, the current council president, said after the resolution's adoption that "it can not end the human suffering in Syria immediately".

Iranian General Mohammad Baqeri, whose government backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Tehran and Damascus would respect the United Nations resolution.

It calls for a 30-day ceasefire in the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta.

The resolution affirmed that the cessation of hostilities will not apply to military operations against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIL/Da'esh), Al Qaeda and Al Nusra Front.

He added that another concern of Moscow was that resolution was not used as a pretext to launch an invasion of Syria.

After the United Nations vote the two dominant rebel factions in Ghouta - Failaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam - both committed to implement the truce and facilitate aid access, but also reiterated their right to respond to any attacks on them.

They have taken part in Syria peace talks in Geneva, which were brokered by the United Nations, and in the Kazakh capital Astana, organised by regime allies Russian Federation and Iran and rebel backer Turkey.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says, however, that Syrian government forces resumed air strikes and shelling in the area on Sunday morning, after a short period of calm following the adoption of the resolution.

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Two of the largest and most powerful rebel factions in Ghouta, Failaq al-Rahman and Army of Islam, said they would abide by the 30-day ceasefire unless they are forced to fire in self-defence.

Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years, which has brought the district to the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.

More than 500 civilians are thought to have died in a week of heavy bombardment by Syria's regime of the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, just outside Damascus.

Russian Federation did not want to specify when a truce would start, so a proposal for the truce to begin 72 hours after adoption was watered-down to demand it start "without delay". She blamed Russia, Syria and Iran for not taking moral responsibility for the urgency of the situation. The US demanded it should be immediate, while Russian Federation wanted lag before it went into effect and the threat of a Moscow veto hung over it.

At least 527 people, including 129 children, have been killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in what is one of the most ferocious assaults of the war.

Rebel sources in control of the enclave were resisting the attacks, Bin Javid reported, saying the fighters struggled to hold their positions on multiple fronts.

"I therefore issue an urgent appeal for an immediate halt to violence to allow access to humanitarian aid - food and medicines - and the evacuation of the wounded and sick".

The rebels in Eastern Ghouta have also been firing into government-controlled Damascus, where six civilians were wounded on Saturday, state media said.

Few of Eastern Ghouta's almost 400,000 residents - mostly living in a scattering of towns across the semi-rural area east of the capital - ventured out on Friday.

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