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UN Security Council calls for 30-day cease-fire in Syria

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UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Saturday for a resolution demanding a 30-day humanitarian cease-fire in Syria, where government forces have stepped up attacks on the besieged rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.

Russia went along with the resolution after initial resistance.

The vote came after a flurry of last-minute negotiations on the text of the resolution, which was drafted by Kuwait and Sweden.

Russia had argued that there is no guarantee that militants would adhere to any cease-fire and demanded amendments to the draft.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., criticized Russia for delaying the vote, saying it had “belatedly decided to join the international consensus, marking a moment of council unity that we must maintain beyond the 30-day timeframe.”

She said that “hardly anything in the resolution has changed except a few words and commas.”

She expressed deep skepticism that the Syrian regime would “allow humanitarian access to all of those who need it” and said that “our resolve to stand by our demands will be tested, and all of us must rise to the challenge.”

More than 500 civilians, including 127 children, have been killed in the region since the government started an offensive there about a week ago, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based war monitor.

At least 32 civilians were killed in airstrikes on different parts of Eastern Ghouta, the observatory said on Saturday.

Government attacks were targeting medical teams trying to help victims in Eastern Ghouta, said the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group.

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