Russia Denies Role in Deadly Air Strikes on Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Laura Christensen
February 22, 2018

The pace of the pace of the bombardment appeared to slacken overnight, but its intensity resumed later on Wednesday morning said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The wave of air strikes, rocket fire and shelling has sparked global condemnation. Speaking to the UN Security Council, he described residents as living in "hell on earth".

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian military, while the Syrian government has maintained that it only targets militants.

"We are standing before the massacre of the 21st century", said a doctor in eastern Ghouta.

"People have not only been suffering a cruel siege for the past six years, they are now trapped in a daily barrage of attacks that are deliberately killing and maiming them, and that constitute flagrant war crimes".

The observatory said the bombardment had killed more than 106 adults and children in eastern Ghouta today alone.

President Assad now looks like he is trying to roll up this final major enclave around Damascus - the Eastern Ghouta.

"At this time, it is especially urgent for the Security Council to uphold its responsibility to bring about a political settlement on Syria in accordance with resolution 2254 under United Nations auspices", he said. She urged Russian Federation to stop supporting the Assad government.

They say at least 10 towns and villages across the Eastern Ghouta came under renewed bombardment on Tuesday. It followed a massive escalation in strikes that began late on Sunday.

"I am deeply saddened by the bad suffering of the civilian population in eastern Ghouta - 400,000 people that live in hell on earth", he told the U.N. Security Council.

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The locally-run Ghouta Media Centre reported strikes on Kafr Batna and other towns in the rebel-held eastern region.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross has asked for access to eastern Ghouta, where 1,400 people have been wounded.

"The warplanes are not leaving the sky at all", said Siraj Mahmoud, a civil defense spokesman in Ghouta, as the sound of explosions rang out in the background.

Hundreds of civilians, many of them women and children, have lost their lives or been injured in airstrikes and shelling since November.

"They are trying to survive but their hunger from the siege has weakened them significantly".

Assad's most powerful backer, Russia, has been pushing its own diplomatic track which resulted in establishing several "de-escalation zones" in rebel territory a year ago.

What's happening in the Eastern Ghouta?

But a rebel group formerly affiliated with al Qaeda is not included in the truces and it has a small presence there.

Residents and aid workers say the "de-escalation" deals have brought no relief. "The United States is deeply concerned by the escalating violence in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta", Nauert told reporters."The escalation is exacerbating the already grave human suffering of almost 400,000 people".

The government has allowed one humanitarian convoy into the Eastern Ghouta since late November, and there are severe shortages of food.

Other reports by My Hot News

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