Monday, 21 January, 2019

Air strikes kill 31, including children, in Syria's Eastern Ghouta: Observatory

Justice and Development Party Deputy Ramazan Can Justice and Development Party Deputy Ramazan Can
Sherri Watson | 09 February, 2018, 04:29

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russian Federation on Monday of protecting Syrian President Bashar Assad from responsibility for what she said were multiple chlorine gas attacks on civilians in recent weeks.

A United Nations investigative commission said in 2016 that the Syrian government was behind at least three chlorine gas attacks during the seven-year civil war, but activists and monitoring groups contend there have been more.

Shells fired by rebels based in the Eastern Ghouta meanwhile reportedly killed two civilians and damaged houses in the government-controlled Old City of Damascus.

Idlib and Eastern Ghouta are two of four "de-escalation zones" which had been agreed upon by both sides of the conflict at peace talks in Kazakhstan a year ago.

The US State Department said on Monday it had recorded six suspected chemical attacks in Syria in the past 30 days.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said there was "obvious evidence from dozens of victims" of breathing difficulties to corroborate chlorine attacks in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta and Idlib province.

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. At least 22 children and 21 women were among the dead.

Turkish military FSA liberate more villages from PYD  PKK terrorists

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.

The pilot "blew himself up with a grenade after being heavily injured and surrounded by terrorists", according to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry to TASS.

In Thursday's deadliest incident, nine children and 12 adults were killed when a market in the town of Arbin was bombed, according to the Syrian Observatory.

Washington, which a year ago launched cruise missiles on a regime airfield in retaliation for a nerve agent attack in Khan Sheikhun that killed scores of people, has threatened more military action.

The SDF and the coalition targeted the attacking forces with air strikes and shelling after "20 to 30 artillery and tank rounds landed within 500 metres (yards) of the SDF headquarters location", a U.S. official said.

The Syrian regime, however, has repeatedly violated the deal and has targeted residential areas in opposition-held, no-tension zones like Idlib.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said the Khusham area, near one of the province's largest oil fields, saw intense clashes with heavy weaponry late Wednesday between pro-government forces and the SDF.