Russia has announced a daily temporary ceasefire in Syria’s bombarded eastern Ghouta that will allow civilians to leave the area, starting Tuesday. The move came despite demands by the international community for an all-encompassing ceasefire.

Putin with Bashar al-Assad

Putin with Bashar al-Assad Photo Credit: Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a daily five-hour “humanitarian pause” in Syria’s war-torn eastern Ghouta, effective Tuesday. The directive came amid the UN Security Council’s unanimous call for all encompassing 30-day ceasefire.

The daily pause would run from 9 AM to 2 PM local time, said Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who announced the decision on Monday, and will allow civilians to leave the besieged enclave. It would also allow humanitarian aid such as food and medical equipment to be safely delivered.

The recent strikes in eastern Ghouta, conducted by the Syrian army and backed by the Russian Air Force, are believed to be the deadliest massacre of uninvolved civilians in months.  Last week, over 500 people were reported dead from the airstrikes and over 2000 were injured.

On Sunday, reports indicated that a chemical attack, likely a chlorine attack, plagued the town of Ghouta, resulting in the death of a child and several cases of breathing difficulties.  A local doctor told AFP “Most of the patients have chlorine odor from their clothes and their skin. Many have dyspnea [forced breathing] and skin and eye irritations.” The Syrian government has denied the accusations that it was responsible for the attack.