March 22, 2018

Syria's Ghouta residents 'wait to die' as bombs fall

22 February 2018, 12:59 | Simon Arnold

Protest in Istanbul against bloodshed in Syria's

Protest in Istanbul against bloodshed in Syria's

In ICRC statement on Wednesday says the medical personnel in eastern Ghouta are unable to cope with the high number of wounded and the area doesn't have enough medicines and supplies.

The latest deaths followed intense shelling that killed almost 130 people in two days earlier this week, marking the deadliest bombardment of the region in three years.

The pace of the strikes appeared to slacken overnight, but its intensity resumed later on Wednesday morning, the Observatory said. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh TEMPLATE OUT A person inspects damaged building in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria February 20, 2018. More than 700 people have been killed in three months, according to local counts, not including the deaths in the last week.

Where is it and why is it important? Once a breadbasket of the Syrian capital, since 2013 it has been under a siege that has tightened severely over the a year ago.

Monday's bombardment that killed almost 100 people saw the use of warplanes, helicopter gunships, missiles as well as artillery, in a major escalation of violence near President Bashar Assad's seat of power.

The Eastern Ghouta is dominated by the Islamist faction Jaysh al-Islam.

"The past 48 hours equals, or is very comparable to, the last two days in Aleppo, and those are the peak of the deterioration of the humanitarian situation inside Syria".

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the immediate suspension of "all war activities" in the Damascus suburb, where he said 400,000 people are living "in hell on earth". Treating the injured is especially hard because of the repeated bombing of hospitals and clinics.

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Mr Moumtzis warned that such attacks might amount to war crimes.

But graphic video from the besieged eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus shows the reality of an ever-escalating civil war that has civilians trapped in the middle of what's been described as a bloodbath.

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert criticized the "siege and starve tactics" of the Assad regime and said: "The cessation of violence must begin now". "If the massacre of the 1990s was Srebrenica, and the massacres of the 1980s were Halabja and Sabra and Shatila, then eastern Ghouta is the massacre of this century right now".

The Russian military has fought a campaign for over two years in Syria, launched in September 2015 in support of Assad, helping to turn around the multi-front war.

Exact death tolls are hard to obtain as rescue operations continue and because some families bury their dead without taking them to hospital. Since then, activists say more than 60 children have died and at least 1,400 people have been injured, and another hospital has been put out of service.

The violence in the region - designated as a de-escalation zone by Syria's main allies, Russian Federation and Iran, as well as Turkey - is the worst since a 2013 chemical attack, activists say. The most powerful are the ultraconservative Army of Islam and Failaq al-Rahman with a small presence of al-Qaida-linked fighters.

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