Air attacks on Eastern Ghouta and Idlib kill almost 200

Air attacks on Eastern Ghouta and Idlib kill almost 200

Air attacks on Eastern Ghouta and Idlib kill almost 200

The statement comes amid a wave of escalating violence as pro-Assad forces bombarded the rebel-held enclaves over a period of several days, with news outlets reporting a death toll of at least 150 in Eastern Ghouta alone.

In early January too, the Syrian regime, spearheaded by President Bashar al-Assad, had accused Israel of launching aerial attacks in Damascus countryside.

Syrian officials say they hold Israel "fully responsible" for the attacks, but it's rare for them to do anything about such strikes.

He went on to say, "Indeed, the chairman of The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syria announced on February 6 that the commission had begun investigating these allegations on suspicion that bombs containing chlorine gas were being used in East Ghouta and also in Idilib's Sarakib district".

Both areas were meant to be two of several "de-escalation zones" agreed upon a year ago by Russia, Iran - both government allies - and Turkey - a backer of the armed opposition.

Wednesday's strikes hit at least six different locations in Eastern Ghouta, said the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman.

Youth in Eastern Ghouta "are being starved, bombed and trapped", said Sonia Khush, Save the Children's Syria response director. The ongoing fighting and deliberate obstructions by forces were preventing aid organizations from reaching civilians, it said.

"These are the worst four days that Eastern Ghouta has ever gone through", said Hamza, a doctor at a clinic in Arbin, told AFP news agency. "These sieges involve the global crimes of indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate starvation of the civilian population", said Paulo Pinheiro, the chair of the commission.

Maarrat al-Nu'man was one of the cities targeted by Russian-allied-Syrian government forces because it was believed to be a rebel-held stronghold.

Some 700 critically ill and wounded patients need to be evacuated for treatment, but the government has not given the United Nations access for this since late November.

It was on August 13, 2013, when Damascus started the chain of chemical attacks against civilians, killing around 1,400, many of whom were children with bombs laden with chemical weapons.

Turkey began deploying forces in an observer role to the rebel-held Idlib in October as part of a "de-escalation" agreement with Iran and Russian Federation to stabilize the lines of conflict in the war-torn country.

While Russia and the Syrian government claims that rebel groups - "terrorists" - are the focus of strikes, evidence showing the civilian cost of the war makes this impossible to believe.

Russian officials say the pilot engaged in a gunbattle with militants before blowing himself up with a hand grenade.

The SSRC is promoted by the Syrian government as a civilian research institute but the USA accuses the agency of focusing on the development of non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them.

Observers say Russian Federation has ramped up its air campaign in Idlib after one of its fighter jets was shot down by rebels in the province on Saturday.

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