State Dept. Condemns Russia, Assad Regime for Not Allowing Sufficient Aid Into Eastern Ghouta

March 6, 2018

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday castigated Russia and the Syrian government for not allowing sufficient humanitarian aid into besieged areas of eastern Ghouta in Syria to help civilians suffering there.

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has worked with its allies Russia and Iran to secure the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta, where nearly 400,000 besieged civilians reside, about one-third of which are children. Some reports have indicated that the Assad regime has used chemical attacks on the civilians in eastern Ghouta.

The United Nations and the United States, as well as other countries, have called on Russia and the Assad regime to allow aid convoys into eastern Ghouta to supply civilians there with humanitarian assistance. Aid convoys have recently gone into the area, but many have been attacked or not provided with sufficient supplies. Russia and the Syrian government have often resisted international efforts to provide besieged Syrians with humanitarian aid throughout Syria's ongoing conflict.

"Brutal airstrikes by Russia and the [Assad] regime continue, especially in eastern Ghouta, despite the unanimous U.N. Security Council vote on February 24 to demand an immediate cessation of hostilities throughout Syria," Nauert told reporters at a press briefing. "The strikes on eastern Ghouta in recent days have demonstrated the farcical nature of Russia's proposed humanitarian corridor."

Nauert cited the case of an aid convoy that was reportedly looted by Syrian regime forces. A number of trucks had to turn back after Syrian and Russian attacks killed many in the area.

"Russia has not only failed to follow through on delivering regime adherence, but it continues to conduct air strikes in Ghouta with its own air force," Nauert said. "Russia and [the] Assad regime continue to ignore the terms of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions."

Nauert also said that Russia has not agreed with some U.N. resolutions concerning Syria because Moscow did not plan on complying.