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UN renews calls for cease-fire in Syria as concerns over humanitarian crisis escalate

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A man pushes a cart past damaged buildings in Syria this week.

A man pushes a cart past damaged buildings in Syria this week.  (Reuters)

The United Nations Security Council renewed calls on Wednesday to implement a 30-day cease-fire across Syria after a resolution to deliver humanitarian aid during that period remained unenforced.

Council President and Netherlands Ambassador Karel van Oosterom told reporters that the 15-member council had expressed concerns about the humanitarian situation during a closed meeting.

The resolution, unanimously passed on Feb. 24, called for all parties to immediately lift the sieges of populated Syrian cities so that the U.N. could deliver humanitarian aid to those in need and evacuate the critically ill and wounded.    

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Syria doubled down on these calls after appealing to the Syrian government to abide by the cease-fire in heavily targeted eastern Ghouta, Reuters reported.

On Monday a convoy carrying emergency medical supplies to nearly 400,000 people near Damascus was stripped by security forces.

U.N. aid workers have said that trauma treatment kits and surgical supplies are often removed from convoys by Syrian forces because they may be used to treat wounded rebels, Reuters reported.

According to the proposal, 5.6 million Syrians are in “acute need” of help, 2.9 million of whom are in hard-to-reach and besieged areas.

U.N. figures also show that nearly 12 percent of children under the age of 5 in Ghouta have acute malnutrition.

Aid workers told Reuters that some children have not “seen daylight in 20 days” because it’s simply too dangerous to leave the basements they are hiding in.

close United Nations official says conditions in the Syrian capital have gotten worse since the ceasefire resolution. Video

UN official: 5-hour humanitarian pauses in Syria not enough

United Nations official says conditions in the Syrian capital have gotten worse since the ceasefire resolution.

Just Wednesday, the Syrian government bombarded the rebel-held eastern part of Ghouta in an effort to defeat the opposition.

Even calls by Russia, which initially delayed the 30-day cease-fire, for a daily five-hour truce to allow aid to be delivered have gone unanswered.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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