Thursday, 22 February, 2018

Syria: witness testimony reveals details of chemical weapons attack on Saraqeb

What the Kurds of Iran and Iraq should learn from Kurds in Syria Third day of deadly Syrian regime raids on rebel enclave
Lillian Steele | 08 February, 2018, 13:11

Activists say the campaign in Ghouta escalated after rebels there refused to join peace talks hosted by Russian Federation last month.

He described the government's siege and indiscriminate bombardment of Eastern Ghouta as "international crimes".

On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the U.S.to withdraw its troops from Manbij and renewed a threat to expand Ankara's military offensive in Syria to this town. The UN humanitarian delegation in Syria warned about the awful consequences of the humanitarian crisis, now worsened in various regions after the escalation of the conflict.

But the government of President Bashar al-Assad has denied any involvement in the attack.

The UN commission alleges chlorine gas was used in both cases.

"International coalition forces are bombing popular forces fighting "Daesh" and the (Syrian Democratic Forces) east of the Euphrates river and there are reports of casualties", statements carried by the stations said.

Eastern Ghouta resident Nour Adam, who spoke to the ABC last month about the "hellish" conditions in the area, said the most recent airstrikes have hit the civilian population hard.

Fighting flares again at the end of 2012 as the rebels set up base in Eastern Ghouta.

Both eastern Ghouta and Idlib province were named as de-escalation zones in a deal brokered in September previous year between Russia, Turkey and Iran.

De-escalation zones - an agreement between Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation - were touted as way of reducing violence in Syria, but these areas have been subject to some of the most horrific bombing in recent months.

The Security Council unanimously voted in 2015 to create a mission operated by the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate those responsible for poison gas attacks. "This Council has been outspoken on ending Syria's use of chemical weapons, and yet, they continue", Haley noted.

"The agreed inter-agency bi-monthly plan to reach besieged and hard-to-reach areas is paralyzed due to access restrictions or lack of agreement concerning locations, supplies and number of beneficiaries", the statement said. In rebel-held Idlib, at least six people are reported to have died in the violence.

"Our air defence systems responded to missiles fired by the Israeli enemy air force from over Lebanese territory on a military outpost in Damascus countryside and destroyed a lot of them", an army statement said.

Syria says the Israeli warplanes launched missiles while inside Lebanon.

In 2016, United Nations humanitarian operations chief Stephen O'Brien says almost one million Syrians are under siege, including in Eastern Ghouta, in a "deliberate tactic of cruelty". Many civilians trying to return home have been killed and injured by unexploded ordinances.

Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the UK-based observatory, said Tuesday had seen "the highest civilian toll in Syria in almost nine months, and one of the bloodiest days in Eastern Ghouta for several years". "If anything, these have been serious escalation areas", he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

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