Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

Atleast 136 people killed in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Atleast 136 people killed in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

In Geneva, the UN-mandated "Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic" issued a statement on Tuesday, condemning the "scale and ferocity" of regime attacks in Idlib governorate and eastern Ghouta, including the bombing of three hospitals.

According to the United Nations, nearly 12 percent of children under five suffer from acute malnutrition in Eastern Ghouta; the highest rate recorded since the conflict began.

The overnight attack, which a USA military official earlier said killed about 100, adds another layer to a conflict in Syria that is once again plunging into a new unpredictable spiral of violence.

The US, which backs the Syrian opposition, backed the call on Thursday, saying it was "appalled" by the escalating violence and multiple reports of Syrian government forces dropping bombs filled with chlorine on rebel-held areas.

That deal has unravelled with a broad government offensive in Idlib province in Syria's north-west and eastern Ghouta, two of the last major strongholds of the opposition fighting Assad. "These attacks must end now", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

The ceasefire should be "for at least one month" to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of the sick and wounded, the global body said.

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.

Activists and rescue workers reported at least 28 civilians, including six children, were killed on Monday in Ghouta, where almost 40 airstrikes hit the suburb that is the last opposition stronghold in Damascus.

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The Observatory said at least 53 of the victims were children.

France's ambassador to the UN, François Delattre, called for unhindered access for aid agencies.

While UN officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10,000.

US officials said no Americans were injured or killed in the attack by the pro-regime forces.

The official said the strikes were in self-defense after the pro-government forces began firing artillery and tank rounds at the SDF.

"That is not realistic", Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters at the United Nations in NY.

The Idlib area is home to more than 1.1 million of Syria's 6.5 million internally displaced people, many of whom escaped other formerly opposition-held areas after they were overrun by government forces, according to United Nations figures.

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