We note with satisfaction that the situation in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus where terrorists and extremists had ruled supreme and had sporadically shelled the capital of Syria and committed other crimes for a long time, is now becoming more stable. The government forces have reestablished control over most of this district’s territory. Talks, now underway with credible members of military units, aim to end the confrontation as soon as possible.

At the same time, representatives of the Russian Armed Forces are conducting a unique and unprecedented in scale operation in keeping with the unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2401. The only aim of the operation is to help the residents of Eastern Ghouta. As a result of this operation, over 70,000 civilians have been evacuated via humanitarian corridors. In addition to this, the UN, the Syrian Red Crescent Society and the International Red Cross Committee have sent in three humanitarian convoys there.

Those Syrians who have escaped from Jihadist captivity are openly talking about the crimes of extremists and lawlessness, including the confiscation of humanitarian aid, the use of civilians as a human shield and efforts to hamper voluntary evacuation.

Representatives from the UN humanitarian agencies working on the ground unequivocally praise the efforts of Russia and Syria to resolve Eastern Ghouta’s humanitarian problems in extremely difficult conditions. However, it appears that these reports are being suppressed by senior UN Secretariat officials and are also being ignored by Western politicians as well as media outlets that prefer to circulate unverified and openly false stories, including those about the alleged use of chemical weapons by the government forces. Their only goal is to discredit Moscow and Damascus, no matter what.

The initiative of some Western members of the UN Security Council to hold a special meeting on March 19, to invite UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who is known for his biased and subjective opinions concerning the situation in Syria and in many other countries and whose actions as well as comments are unacceptable for such a senior UN official, and to review the human rights situation in Syria speaks volumes in the context of the propaganda campaign. But their plans aiming to organise yet another emotional show at the UN Security Council, to slander Russia and Syria and to formalise human rights matters in the Council’s agenda (in violation of its mandate) were not realised. Indicatively, this initiative did not receive the required support at the UN Security Council. Mr Al Hussein’s successor will have to work hard in order to restore the high reputation of the responsible position of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that he had undermined.