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EU presses Russia, Iran, Turkey over Syria ceasefire


© AFP/File | EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini wrote Syrians "deserve to receive relief from the fighting" in a letter to the governments of Moscow, Tehran and Ankara, seen by AFP

The EU has pressed Russia, Iran and Turkey to do what they can to get the Syrian government to halt its offensive in Eastern Ghouta to let aid enter and civilians evacuate.

The bloc's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday she would write to Moscow, Tehran and Ankara to ask them to enforce the de-escalation zones they agreed to create in Syria as part of talks held in Astana.

"The civilian population in Syria, and in particular in Eastern Ghouta, has already suffered too much. They deserve to receive relief from the fighting," Mogherini wrote in the letter, seen Wednesday by AFP.

"We call on you... to take all necessary steps to ensure that the fighting stops, that the Syrian people are protected, and finally that urgent humanitarian access and necessary medical evacuations are taking place."

Russia -- a key ally of the Syrian government -- on Monday announced a "humanitarian pause" of a few hours a day in the bombardment of the rebel-held enclave near Damascus, but residents have rejected the offer of safe passage and aid convoys have not entered.

The EU, which is hosting a conference on the future of Syria in Brussels on April 24 and 25, has repeatedly stressed it believes UN-led talks in Geneva are the only way to resolve Syria's nearly seven-year civil war.

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