German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron hoped world powers would agree a Syria ceasefire on Friday after they asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to back a corresponding U.N. Security Council resolution, Reuters reported.
The two European Union leaders appealed to Putin -- whose military intervention in Syria gave Bashar al-Assad the upper hand in the seven-year-old conflict -- to stop bombardments of the rebel-held pocket of eastern Ghouta.
Warplanes from Assad’s government forces and their allies pounded the densely populated enclave east of the capital Damascus for a sixth straight day on Friday.
“France and Germany call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the implementation of a ceasefire to provide civilian support, humanitarian access and medical evacuation, as called for by the UN,” the two governments said.
“France and Germany call on Russia to shoulder its responsibilities in this regard,” they said in a joint statement as Macron and Merkel met other EU leaders for talks in Brussels.
Following the meeting, EU leaders’ chairman, Donald Tusk told reporters: “The Assad regime is brutally attacking innocent men, women and children. Its backers, Russia and Iran, are allowing this to happen.”
He urged them to stop the violence. The EU called for an immediate ceasefire, urgent humanitarian access to and protection of civilians, he said.