United Nations diplomats locked in talks on Syria ceasefire

Hundreds of people have been rescued from the rubble

The weeklong bombardment has overwhelmed rescuers and doctors at makeshift hospitals, many of which have also been bombed.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters as she went into the council chamber: "Today we are going to see if Russian Federation has a conscience".

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia had said repeatedly that an immediate ceasefire was unrealistic.

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Saturday's vote, which was supposed to be at noon, was held up by deliberations for two hours and comes after several days of delay.

But reservations from Russian Federation, which has been the main backer of Syrian president Bashar Assad since the conflict began seven years ago, have hindered its implementation. In 2015, Moscow joined the war on Assad's side tipping the balance of power in his favour.

The text demands the lifting of all sieges including in Eastern Ghouta, where Syrian government forces are waging a fierce bombing campaign. "There is nothing inside Ghouta".

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Almost 130 children and 75 women are among those killed in ongoing airstrikes on the Syrian suburb which began last Sunday.

The White Helmets said it has documented the names of 420 people who have been killed since Sunday, adding that dozens more have still not been identified.

It further demands that, immediately after the start of the cease-fire, all parties shall allow the United Nations and its implementing partners to undertake safe, unconditional medical evacuations, based on medical need and urgency.

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The region is the only big rebel bastion close to Damascus.

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