UN accuses Syria regime of orchestrating 'apocalypse'

Violet Powell
March 8, 2018

In his annual report to the UN Human Rights Council, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the government's actions in the area are "legally and morally unsustainable", while warning that the next nightmare for Syrian civilians will inevitably arrive soon.

Assad said on Sunday the Syrian army would continue the push into eastern Ghouta, which government forces and allied militia have encircled since 2013.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the besieged enclave of satellite towns and rural areas on the outskirts of Damascus in one of the fiercest bombing campaigns of the seven-year-old war. Activists and the Observatory say the pauses have not been enforced.

According to the Observatory 805 civilians, among them 178 children, were killed in Eastern Ghouta since February 18.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported 13 killed in Jindaris, including 2 children.

The Syrian army has captured more than a third of the enclave in recent days, threatening to slice it in two.

Turkey has been battling the YPG in Afrin since January 20.

Inside eastern Ghouta on Wednesday, AFP correspondents heard warplanes carrying out a barrage of strikes on the battleground towns.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference, Kalın said that Turkey has mobilized all efforts to get concrete results to find a solution to the humanitarian crisis in eastern Ghouta. It includes 5,500 food and flour bags enough for 27,500 people, in addition to wheat flour, medical and surgical items.

The strikes may not have specifically targeted civilians, the panel ruled, but the use of unguided blast bombs in a densely populated area could amount to a war crime on the part of Russian Federation, which has played a crucial role in backing the Syrian government.

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But the government had stripped some medical supplies from the convoy.

To make matters worse, some of the trucks turned back without ever unloading their supplies.

Forty-six aid trucks entered the area on Monday for the first time since the offensive, but had to cut short their deliveries and leave due to heavy bombardment.

People in eastern Ghouta "are exhausted, they are angry", he said. More than 800 people have been killed during three weeks of fighting. There were 14 abstentions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow was fully complying with UN Security Council Resolution 2401, which calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Syria but does not apply to terrorist groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda and their affiliates.

A United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire and a Russian-sponsored truce failed to evacuate trapped residents and allow for the flow of desperately needed aid including food and medicine.

Elsewhere Tuesday, United Nations investigators said they have linked Russian forces to a possible war crime in Syria for the first time, reporting that a Russian plane was responsible for airstrikes on a market previous year that killed civilians.

Monday's announcement comes a day after troops recaptured control over the town of Nashabiyah and a number of villages and farms in eastern Ghouta in the largest advances since the government's wide-scale operation began last month.

The situation in besieged eastern Ghouta is dire and deteriorating.

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