The UN is due to vote on a temporary national ceasefire at 4pm
The European Union is calling for an immediate ceasefire as the death toll in Syria’s eastern Ghouta continues to mount.
In a statement this afternoon, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini warned that the “massacre” in the Damascus suburb “must stop now.”
It is believed at least 428 people, including 98 children, have been killed in the rebel-held area since Sunday.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has claimed that the number of people killed or injured in the onslaught has topped 2500 in the past five days.
More than 22 medical facilities have been damaged, leaving thousands of injured people unable to access adequate help.
The EU statement warned that “hundreds of civilians, women and children” are begin “targeted deliberately and relentlessly.”
“They are the real, innocent, victims of this war,” it said.
“The European Union is running out of words to describe the horror being experienced by the people of Eastern Ghouta.
“The fighting must stop now - the international community should unite to stop this human suffering.”
The Bloc has called on all parties to the conflict as well as the guarantors of the four De-Escalation Areas - Turkey, Iran, and Russia to take all necessary measures to ensure an immediate ceasefire.
It also called on all parties to respect to respect International Humanitarian Law and allow urgent humanitarian access to eastern Ghouta.
“Unhindered humanitarian access and the protection of civilians is a moral duty and a matter of urgency,” said the statement.
“It is in the responsibility of all to prevent further loss of lives, to stop the violence.”
The UN Security Council is due to vote in the next hour on a resolution that would order an immediate ceasefire access for aid convoys to millions of people across the war-torn country.
However, it appears Russia may veto the resolution – which it calls ‘unrealistic.’
Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has vetoed UN action on the conflict many times.
A vote was due to take place last night, however Russia insisted it could not agree – and tabled a number of amendments.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said the Kremlin will consider supporting the ceasefire resolution – provided it does not cover fighters from IS and the al Qaeda-linked Levant Liberation Committee.
President Assad’s forces have claimed the airstrikes on eastern Ghouta are aimed at al-Qaeda-linked groups they say have been shelling residential areas of Damascus.
The groups are believed to make up a small proportion of the rebel fighters in eastern Ghouta.
The EU statement said the Syrian regime “must immediately stop targeting its own people and fulfil its primary responsibility to protect them.”
“We therefore support the UN call for a 30-day humanitarian ceasefire and expect the international community to support it in New York,” it said.
The High Representative said there is “no military solution to the conflict” and called on all parties to “seriously engage in the UN-led political process as a matter of urgency.”
The UN is due to vote on the ceasefire resolution at 4pm.