The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Sunday (AEDT) in favour of a 30-day ceasefire in Syria, after days of bombardment by the Syrian government on a Damascus suburb left hundreds of civilians dead.
The resolution called for all parties to “cease hostilities without delay” across the country to enable the “safe, unimpeded and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and services and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded”.
The pause in fighting for at least 30 days would let humanitarian aid reach the besieged suburb of eastern Ghouta and allow civilians there to be evacuated.
More than 500 people, including women and children, were killed last week in the intensifying strikes against the rebel-held area of eastern Ghouta, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Olof Skoog, Sweden’s ambassador to the United Nations, who introduced the resolution along with the Kuwaiti ambassador, said the it could “de-escalate suffering” and save lives.
“The UN convoys and evacuation teams are ready to go,” he said.
The geographic scope of the ceasefire covers the conflict across Syria, except where military operations are underway against the Islamic State, the Nusra front, al-Qaida affiliated groups, and any other groups designated as terrorist organisations, according to the Security Council.