Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Many civilians killed as Syria regime strikes shake Ghouta

Many civilians killed as Syria regime strikes shake Ghouta

Russia, which is fighting in support of the Assad regime, said it would allow rebels to leave via a humanitarian corridor together with their families and firearms.

Linda Tom, spokesperson for the UN's humanitarian coordination office OCHA in Syria, told AFP fighting and airstrikes had continued during the convoy's deployment, "including on Douma city while the convoy was offloading".

"And that's the biggest problem of this convoy - what we have done was to bring very little for people to survive for a very short period of time. But we left with heavy hearts because we knew that we are leaving people behind, we know what they will be going through".

But it said the Syrian government offloaded 70 percent of the health supplies, including trauma and surgical kits and insulin, before allowing the convoy to enter eastern Ghouta.

France and Britain have called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council on the situation in Syria given the failure to implement a resolution that demands an immediate cease-fire in the war-torn country.

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The multi-sided Syrian civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and driven at least 11 million from their homes.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor says government bombardment of the area has killed 800 people since February 18, including 80 people killed on Monday alone. It accused the government of using "poison gas".

The raids came after around 18 people suffered breathing difficulties in the town following a strike there late Monday, the Observatory reported.

United Nations war crimes investigators on Tuesday called on Russian Federation and the USA -led coalition in Syria to look into their air strikes in the country a year ago found to have killed large numbers of civilians, in violation of global law.

The Syrian government has denied possessing chemical weapons and said that it considers their use unacceptable.

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Medics in the town of Hammoria in Syria's Ghouta region have said they've been treating people suffering from symptoms consistent with exposure to chlorine gas.

US -backed Kurdish forces say they are redeploying fighters from fronts against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria to the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin in the northwest to shore up Kurdish fighters battling a Turkish offensive. Initial information suggested a technical fault may have been to blame, the ministry was cited as saying.

"The Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation is pummeling the area with airstrikes and shelling attacks, as it makes a concerted effort to take back control of these towns and villages near Damascus", Ruth reports.

The Russian military has offered Syrian rebels safe passage out of eastern Ghouta, setting out a proposal to let the insurgents surrender their last major stronghold near Damascus to President Bashar al-Assad, which fighters have so far rejected. It said the rebels were free to leave with their weapons and families unhindered.

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