The past few weeks have been especially deadly for civilians in Syria, with Russian-backed regime forces pummeling the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta.
On Tuesday, a five-hour ceasefire ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin — after a 30-day one ordered by the U.N. Security Council over the weekend failed — was marked by shelling from Syrian government forces. None of the previous ceasefires have held.
Also on Tuesday, with the help of Syrian troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, the Russians set up a route for civilians to flee eastern Ghouta, where over 500 people have been killed in the past week. But according to the Associated Press, none of the estimated 400,000 besieged residents have managed to leave just yet, with photos of the government checkpoints showing no signs of civilians crossing. U.N. and aid workers say that the corridors are not set up to let in aid and allow residents to evacuate the embattled area.
It’s against this backdrop that the United States is trying to maintain some sort of purchase in the country and the international community struggles to find a way to minimize civilian deaths, which have been mounting at a horrific pace since the start of the conflict nearly seven years ago.
Read the full article in Think Progress.