Ghouta aid postponed as Syria regime presses assault

09 Marcha, 2018, 01:02 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • Syrian children are seen after receiving medical treatment at the field hospital after a suspected alleged chlorine gas attack in Hamouriyah

Hundreds have been killed in the past two weeks, including dozens of fatalities reported on Wednesday.

Dozens of people, including many children, were treated overnight for breathing problems and symptoms that medics said were consistent with chlorine attacks, which Western powers have repeatedly warned would not go unpunished.

Such reports, which have been recurrent in the past weeks, could not be independently confirmed.

In January 2018, several people die in suspected regime chlorine gas attacks on the region. The state-affiliated al-Ikhbariya TV station on Wednesday broadcast live shots from the region, showing dense columns of smoke rising above the town as rockets could be heard flying overhead.

On Wednesday pro-government forces advanced, taking the small town of Beit Sawa to Misraba's south, a Hezbollah-run media unit said.

In a race against time for Syrian civilians besieged in Damascus' eastern suburbs of Ghouta, a 46-truck convoy organized by the United Nations and key aid agencies waited Monday at a crossing point to enter the rebel-held enclave. The military gains have caused wide-scale internal displacement as civilians flee government advances toward areas in the territory still held by the rebels.

Dramatic videos released by the opposition's Syrian Civil Defense on Wednesday showed rescuers digging away hard-packed rubble to rescue a dust-covered little boy and a baby girl in the town of Arbeen.

New air strikes on the town of Zamalka killed at least seven civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, bringing the total number of dead in the offensive to more than 900.

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United Nations chief Antonio Guterres says Eastern Ghouta has become "hell on Earth", while the UN's human rights chief says Damascus is orchestrating an "apocalypse".

"When you are prepared to kill your own people, lying is easy too". Over 800 civilians are said to have been killed in the course of this offensive. Whether a victory in Ghouta will mean a safer Damascus, or just more unrest because of the civilian casualties, however, remains to be seen.

Bashar al Assad's regime, backed in the war by Russian Federation and Iran, is seeking to crush the last major rebel enclave near Damascus in a ferocious campaign that has killed over 900 people, according to a war monitor. So far the rebels have dismissed it in public and vowed to fight on.

Olwan said Wednesday that rebels had plugged their defensive lines after they crumbled in the early days of the assault.

The opposition says such evacuation agreements amount to a policy of demographic change by which Assad has forcibly displaced those who oppose him.

The UN Security Council called on Wednesday for the implementation of a February 24 resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire across Syria and it voiced concern about the country's humanitarian plight.

The resumption of the aerial campaign on Tuesday came shortly after an aid convoy was not able to unload supplies to residents trapped inside the enclave, after managing to pass a government-controlled checkpoint for the first time in almost a month.


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