Saudi Arabia rushes aid as 500 killed in regime strike on Syrian enclave

A volunteer of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) hands over a food packet to a child in the rebel-held Syria enclave of Eastern Ghouta. — Courtesy photo

Saudi Gazette report

Riyadh — The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) rushed relief material to Eastern Ghouta as deadly air strikes hit the Syrian rebel enclave for a seventh straight day on Saturday as the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded.

The relief material included supplies to run a charity kitchen and food baskets. The aid was given to citizens in Duma, Arbin, Harasta, Mesraba and several other areas in Eastern Ghouta, reported the Saudi Press Agency on Saturday.

KSRelief will be operating a charity kitchen for the next six months which will facilitate over 200,000 meals for the needy. This is an average of 2,000 meals per day. It will also be distributing 5,633 food baskets to poor and needy families in the war-torn area.

The Damascus government launched a devastating bombardment of the area just outside the capital last Sunday that has now killed nearly 500 civilians including more than 100 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britain-based monitor of the war said at least 21 civilians were killed in fresh strikes on Eastern Ghouta on Saturday, including 12 in the main town of Duma.

The enclave is completely surrounded by government-controlled territory and its 400,000 residents are unwilling or unable to flee the deadly siege.

The sponsors, Kuwait and Sweden, amended the UN resolution late Friday in a last-minute attempt to get Russian support, dropping a demand that the ceasefire take effect in 72 hours.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia had said repeatedly that an immediate cease-fire was unrealistic.

Sweden's UN Ambassador Olof Skoog said before the vote that the resolution could de-escalate violence and save lives.

"The UN convoys and evacuation teams are ready to go," he said.

The vote, initially expected on Thursday, was delayed to Friday and finally rescheduled for Saturday.

Sweden and Kuwait presented the measure two weeks ago. -- With agencies