Febrero 24, 2018

East Ghouta reels under intense Russian, Syrian bombing

10 Febrero 2018, 07:54 | Crisanna Felipe

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Lowcock also cited the "horrific conditions" in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta where more than 700 people need immediate evacuation and malnutrition is widespread, the diplomat said.

On Tuesday, the United Nations called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria on a humanitarian basis for at least 30 days as more than 30 people have been reported to lose their lives from air strikes in the regions that are held by rebels in the northwest of the country and near the capital of Damascus.

Syria's conflict began with widespread protests against Assad's rule in 2011, but a crackdown on demonstrations paved the way for a complex war drawing in world powers.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group, says Tuesday marked the "largest massacre in Syria" since April's chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province when more than 80 people were killed.

Later on Saturday, Russian warplanes targeted rebel positions in eastern Idlib province near the site of the downed plane, TASS reported the same day. The highest toll was in the town of Jisreen, where eight civilians were killed.

The Syrian government also has been pressing its campaign in a rebel-held area near the capital of Damascus. Chlorine bombs were reportedly used during the attacks, which claimed the lives of several civilians, leaving several others gravely injured. But their "red lines" over the use of chemical weapons in the Syria conflict are now being tested.

"That is not realistic", Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters at the UN.

Located in the outskirt of capital Damascus, Eastern Ghouta was declared a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are forbidden.

Moayad al-Hafi, a rescue worker, said his team was hit in a double-tap strike as they were pulling bodies out in Jisreen, which is near Erbin.

Aid groups had previously condemned the Syrian government's targeting of medical facilities and said at least 10 hospitals had been put out of commission by air raids since December of past year.

At least two civilians were killed in retaliatory rebel mortar fire on government-controlled areas of Damascus, according to state news agency SANA.

"The people here have collapsed, people are seen talking to themselves in the streets".

"It is mass killing, and we demand the protection of civilians, and we want our voice to reach decision-makers, because this bombing, destruction and killing are systematic", the doctor said.

"We are living a catastrophe".

Friday's toll was less than on previous bloody days, but it put the week's deaths at more than 240 including 60 children, according to the Observatory.

Earlier this week the United Nations commission of inquiry, tasked with investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, condemned the upsurge of violence in Idlib and Ghouta, saying they "make a mockery" of the de-escalation agreement.

Last summer, the coalition shot down Iranian-made armed drones and aircraft affiliated with the Syrian government in southern Syria, after they came dangerously close to U.S-backed forces and advisers.

Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation are the guarantors of a countrywide ceasefire in Syria.

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