Syrian Regime's Airstrikes Kill Scores Of Besieged Civilians In Eastern Ghouta

Marie Harrington
February 9, 2018

Images of blood-soaked children and adults competed with video of rescuers carrying white body bags or pulling survivors from the debris of destroyed homes.

Youth in Eastern Ghouta "are being starved, bombed and trapped", said Sonia Khush, Save the Children's Syria response director.

In eastern Ghouta, rescue workers spent much of the day searching through the rubble of buildings that had collapsed under the airstrikes. "That brings the total number of deaths to at least 167 people in last four days".

"Eastern Ghouta is a de-escalation area".

The US backed the plea but Russian Federation - a longtime ally of Syria's government - shrugged it off on Thursday.

In response, Syrian state media called the US attack an "aggression" and a "new massacre", the AP writes. There were certain incidents which were inflated by Arab media, belonging to opponents of Bashar al-Assad regime in the region.

A monitoring group and opposition activists said at least 54 people, including 15 children, died in attacks across the Eastern Ghouta on Thursday.

The army later confirmed a missile strike by Israel on a military site near Damascus, without specifying further, according to a report on the state-run news agency SANA.

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Meanwhile, dozens of civilians were killed by renewed government strikes in a rebel-held enclave near Damascus, where overwhelmed medics were still treating survivors of the Syrian conflict's bloodiest day in months.

The al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee, which is the dominant militant group in Idlib, said its fighters shot down the Russian jet near the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province and killed its pilot after he ejected from the plane.

Russia's military bases in western Syria were also hit last month in a series of drone attacks, challenging Moscow's gains in the country still torn by conflict. The ongoing fighting and deliberate obstructions by forces were preventing aid organizations from reaching civilians, it said.

Underlining reports that chemical weapons containing chlorine were being used in the regime's attacks on Eastern Ghouta, Aksoy recalled a statement by the chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria that said an investigation was launched into the claims.

Eastern Ghouta was designated as one of several "de-escalation zones" by backers of the Syrian government - Russian Federation and Iran - as well as Turkey who oppose the government.

East Ghouta's medical facilities are already facing severe shortages of supplies amidst an airtight government siege.

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Mounting attacks in Idlib come at a time when the escalation of violence in eastern Ghouta has also magnified the longstanding humanitarian crisis in that besieged pocket on the north-eastern outskirts of Damascus. They said they had tracked at least 76 airstrikes on Tuesday and Wednesday alone in the region.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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