Regime airstrikes kill 9 civilians in Syria's E. Ghouta

Frederick Owens
February 10, 2018

France urged Russian Federation to make Syria's government ease a worsening humanitarian crisis in two rebel-held areas as more air strikes pounded them on Friday, adding to the death toll from one of the deadliest weeks of the war.

As the Syrian regime continues its intense airstrikes against the population in rebel-held eastern Ghouta and Idlib governorate, the United Nations has called for "an immediate cessation of hostilities" throughout the country.

President Bashar al-Assad's army, which has seized a clear advantage in the war with Russian and Iranian help, is bombarding two of the last key rebel areas of Syria - Eastern Ghouta near Damascus and Idlib in the northwest near the Turkish border.

A global watchdog said Wednesday it is probing "all credible allegations" of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, amid mounting reports they are allegedly being deployed by Damascus. "That is not realistic", said Russia's United Nations envoy, Vassily Nebenzia.

The reporter also asked White what USA forces would do if Syrian government forces clashed with the SDF, without Daesh being involved. This is a key point people should know: "there is no safe space", Siraj Mahmoud, the head of the Civil Defence rescue service in opposition-held rural Damascus, told Reuters.

The official state news agency SANA reported on Thursday that the overnight attack hit tribal fighters in Khusham, a town in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.

The U.S. State Department said it was "extremely concerned" about growing violence in Idlib and the eastern Ghouta area.

The Observatory said the regime forces may have been aiming to capture a key oil field and a major gas plant in an SDF-held area.

The operation is another in a series of strikes conducted against Syria since 2011, many of which were aimed at preventing the transfer of advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon. "The air strikes need to end", Florence Parly said on France Inter radio, giving no further details.

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The latest death toll brings the number of civilians killed in four days of government airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta to 210, according to the Observatory. She said the goal is to allow humanitarian aid and medical care to flow to more than 700 civilians in eastern Ghouta.

By crossing the river, the pro-government forces would have violated the existing de-confliction agreement between Washington and Moscow, approaching US -backed forces based near an oil field.

Almost 200 people were wounded, and rescuers said many of those probably will not survive because of lack of medical supplies.

Nineteen children and 20 women are among the dead, and around 200 were wounded, said the Britain-based war monitor.

At least 75 people were killed on Thursday alone, including 15 children, SAMS reported.

At least 23 people, including five children, have been killed in a regime air strike in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, amid an intense period of bombing in the Damascus suburb.

Turkey meanwhile has continued its campaign in the majority-Kurdish enclave of Afrin, a battle that has progressed slowly amid resistance from Syrian Kurdish militias there.

In a statement, Paulo Pinheiro said the spiraling violence had made "a mockery of the so-called 'de-escalation zones"' - an agreement reached past year among Russia, Iran and Turkey to stabilise the lines of conflict and open corridors for humanitarian aid.

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