EU Leaders Push for Ceasefire in Syria's Eastern Ghouta
European leaders called Friday for an immediate ceasefire in Syria to allow for humanitarian aid and evacuations after more than 400 civilians were killed in the rebel-held region of Eastern Ghouta.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin urging him to back a U.N. Security Council resolution for a ceasefire in Syria, France's presidency said.
It said the letter, sent while Macron and Merkel were at an EU summit in Brussels, asked Russia to support the draft resolution calling for a 30-day truce in Syria, mainly to allow medical and other aid to reach Eastern Ghouta and allow evacuations.
"At this time, we do not know what will be Russia's stance," the Elysee said in a statement.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria.
"The massacre in Eastern Ghouta must stop now," Mogherini said in a statement. "The European Union is running out of words to describe the horror being experienced by the people of Eastern Ghouta."
She said the EU urged all parties to the conflict "to take all necessary measures to ensure an immediate ceasefire... and urgent humanitarian access.
"The Syrian regime must immediately stop targeting its own people and fulfil its primary responsibility to protect them," Mogherini added.
The U.N. Security Council is due to vote on a 30-day ceasefire resolution on Friday but it was unclear whether Russia would support the measure which has been in negotiations for two weeks.
More than 400 people have been killed in the five-day assault by the government on Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, where U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said 400,000 Syrians are living in "hell on earth."