At least 70 civilians killed in new regime raids near Damascus

Ⓒ AFP – ABDULMONAM EASSA – | A Syrian fleeing with a child the strikes of the Syrian
regime in the locality of Saqba, in eastern Ghouta, on February
6, 2018

At least 70 civilians, including children, died Tuesday in
new strikes by the Syrian Air Force against a rebel enclave,
despite growing international pressure on the regime accused of
carrying out chemical attacks.

Fearing a “worsening of the humanitarian crisis”, the UN has
called for a humanitarian truce of at least a month in all of
Syria, a country devastated by a devastating war that has
killed more than 340,000 people and thrown millions into the
streets of people since March 2011.

Following the death of 31 people in raids on eastern Ghouta,
the regime’s planes bombed several localities in the enclave on
Tuesday, killing at least 70 civilians, including 18 children,
and wounding 100, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights. Man (OSDH).

These are the deadliest raids since the launch six weeks ago
of a regime operation on the outskirts of Eastern Ghouta, a
region near the capital Damascus, the NGO said.

In Saqba, one of the localities of Eastern Ghouta besieged
since 2013, the White Helmets, these rescuers in rebel areas,
managed to get out of the rubble a little girl with a bloody
face. In Kafr Batna, rescuers and residents, in a thick cloud
of dust, carried bleeding wounded on stretchers or bare hands
in the middle of an ocean of rubble.

In the morgue of a hospital, a woman collapses in tears. She
has just identified her husband.

Ⓒ AFP – Omar KAMAL – | Raids of the regime on Eastern Ghouta

Eastern Ghouta is the near-daily target of regime
bombardment, and its estimated 400,000 people are living in a
serious humanitarian crisis, with shortages of food and

In retaliation, the rebels fired rockets at Damascus, the
regime’s stronghold, where three civilians were killed on
Tuesday, according to the official Sana news agency. Several
schools announced the suspension of the courses sine die
because of the violence.

– Chemical attacks –

Ⓒ AFP – ABDULMONAM EASSA – | Syrians advance in the midst of destruction caused by
Syrian air raids on Sabqa, eastern Ghouta near Damascus, February
6, 2018

In addition to the strikes on Ghouta, the regime has
intensified in recent weeks its bombing against the province of
Idleb (north-west), controlled by the jihadists of Hayat Tahrir
al-Sham (HTS, former Syrian branch of Al Qaeda ) and where are
present several Syrian rebel groups.

The day before, 16 people died in the Idleb raids.

Eastern Ghouta and Idleb Province are among the four
de-escalation zones set up in Syria with a view to achieving a
comprehensive ceasefire.

Violence “derides these so-called de-escalation zones,”
denounced a UN commission charged with investigating war crimes
in Syria. “In the past 48 hours, the scale and ferocity of
attacks have increased dramatically.”

The same commission announced that it was investigating
alleged chemical attacks by the regime in Saraqeb, a town in
Idleb province, where 11 cases of suffocation were reported,
but also in eastern Ghouta.

On January 22, the OSDH reported 21 cases of suffocation in
Ghouta, residents and medical sources evoking a chlorine

The regime of Bashar al-Assad denied using these

The United States, hostile to the Syrian regime, accused it
of resorting to it and asserted that it did not rule out
strikes in Syria.

Ⓒ AFP – OMAR HAJ KADOUR – | Syrians who appear to be suffering from breathing
difficulties transported to a hospital after regime strikes on
the city of Saraqeb in Ibled province, February 4,

On Monday in the Security Council, the United States and
Russia, Assad’s ally, clashed over an American-inspired text
condemning alleged chemical attacks by the regime, which Moscow
wanted to amend without being able to collect the Washington

France has judged too early “at this stage” to confirm new
chemical attacks.

– ‘Extreme danger’ –

Ⓒ AFP – Delil souleiman – | Syrian Kurds demonstrate in the town of Afrine against
the Turkish military offensive on 6 February 2018

Deploring “an extreme situation” in Syria, the various UN
agencies based in Damascus called for “an immediate cessation
of hostilities for at least a month,” according to a

The objective is “to allow the distribution of humanitarian
aid, the evacuation of the wounded and the sick in a critical
state, and to alleviate the suffering” of the civilians.

On another front of the war in Syria, hundreds of people
from the Kurdish regions of the north-east protested in
North-West Afrine to denounce the Turkish military offensive
against the enclave at the hands of the Kurds. course since
January 20th.

“Between Eastern Ghouta, Idleb,
Afrine, this is the first time we have several fronts with
people in extreme danger, without a solution in sight,”
lamented the regional coordinator of the Office of Humanitarian
Affairs of the United Nations. UN for the crisis in Syria,
Panos Moumtzis.

Triggered in March 2011 by the repression of peaceful
demonstrations, the conflict in Syria became more complex with
the involvement of regional and foreign countries and jihadist
groups, on a fragmented territory. All attempts to find a
political solution have failed so far.

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