Fighting Rages On in Syria Despite Putin-Ordered ‘Ceasefire’

Fighting has continued in the Syrian rebel-controlled enclave of eastern Ghouta despite Russia’s call for a five-hour ceasefire. The ceasefire was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin—ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—but the United Nations said the plan had now collapsed, with reports of continued shelling Tuesday, with nearly 600 reported dead in the continued attack on the rebel holdout. The continued fighting has prevented U.N. aid convoys from entering the region and halted medical evacuations. Meanwhile, a BBC report alleges that women in Syria have been sexually exploited by charity workers, who have withheld food and aid to trade it for sexual favors. One aid worker told the BBC some women now refuse to go to the distribution centers because people would assume they’d had sex in exchange for any supplies they brought home. “It was so endemic that they couldn’t actually go without being stigmatized," she said. “It was assumed that if you go to these distributions, that you will have performed some kind of sexual act in return for aid.”