Syrian government warplanes kill 59, injure 139 in Eastern Ghouta - monitor

Syrian government warplanes kill 59, injure 139 in Eastern Ghouta - monitor

If the Syrian government is to recover Eastern Ghouta from rebel forces it would serve as a major knock to their moral, as such for the rebels to control territory close to the President's residence is a symbolic show of strength.

At least two civilians were killed in retaliatory rebel mortar fire on government-controlled areas of Damascus, according to state news agency SANA.

Idlib and Eastern Ghouta are two of four "de-escalation zones" which had been agreed upon by both sides of the conflict at peace talks in Kazakhstan past year.

Syrian state-run media on Thursday confirmed a rare US strike on government-backed troops in eastern Syria, citing reports of dozens killed and wounded from the attack.

The bombing was one of the bloodiest in the eastern Ghouta region for over a month. "These attacks must end now", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

"Local monitoring groups are reporting that just today, 21 people were killed and 125 others injured, including women and children", Ruth says.

Though he appears to have survived the insurgency, his forces continue to bomb and besiege opposition pockets across Syria, including in eastern Ghouta and Idlib.

In a letter addressed to the United Nations secretary general, the Syrian foreign ministry said the attack "represents a war crime and a crime against humanity".

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The UN statement noted that some progress had been made in Hasakah, where aid deliveries have resumed "after a month in which most humanitarian assistance came to a complete halt".

In Thursday's deadliest incident, nine children and 12 adults were killed when a market in the town of Arbin was bombed, according to the Syrian Observatory.

Russian warplanes stepped up airstrikes on Idlib over the weekend, the last rebel-held province in Syria.

On Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "all indications" pointed to the Syrian government's use of chlorine weapons.

The US backed the plea but Russian Federation - a longtime ally of Syria's government - shrugged it off on Thursday.

The Syrian regime, however, has repeatedly violated the deal and has targeted residential areas in the city killing a total of 524 people and leaving around 2,000 others injured since December 29, 2017.

But the scale and ferocity of attacks in Idlib and Eastern Ghouta have "increased dramatically" over the last 48 hours, "resulting in multiple reports of civilian casualties & airstrikes that have reportedly hit at least three hospitals", Pinheiro, the chair of the UN's commission of inquiry on Syria, said Tuesday.

The Syrian regime forces have been conducting intensified airstrikes on the region since Thursday morning.

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