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Syrian death toll rises as bombing of rebel enclave continues

Syrian death toll rises as bombing of rebel enclave continues

"We also demand that the backers of the Assad regime use their strong influence to achieve this end", Mr Seibert said.

Ten civilians were killed Wednesday in fresh air strikes by the Syrian regime on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, where 270 people have died in three days of bombardment, a monitor said. The White Helmets reported 15 deaths on Tuesday while the Observatory said 23 people were killed.

As many as five people were reportedly killed and over 200 were left injured in the Damascus suburb held by the rebels on Wednesday (February 21) alone, in aerial strikes by pro-Assad forces.

A commander in the coalition fighting on behalf of Assad's government told the Reuters agency overnight that the bombing aims to prevent the rebels from targeting the eastern neighbourhoods of Damascus with mortars. "Humanitarian questions, including humanitarian aid, humanitarian access, have become perhaps the most egregious example of the "double standards" of the United States and their adherents in the approach to the entire Syrian dossier", Sergey Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday.

They say at least 10 towns and villages across the Eastern Ghouta came under renewed bombardment on Tuesday. A truce should also allow the evacuation of an estimated 700 people who need urgent treatment outside of the besieged enclave, he said.

The last two days have been the deadliest in years but the Syrian government shows no sign of letting up, vowing to wipe out the rebels in eastern Ghouta, which, like all opposition forces, are dismissed as terrorists by the Assad regime and its allies.

The Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation, which has backed Assad with air power since 2015, say they do not target civilians.

The TV reporter said residents expressed hope that the Syrian army would retake eastern Ghouta.




This was the single-sentence statement issued by Unicef, the UN's children's fund, this week in response to the Syrian government's ongoing siege of Eastern Ghouta.

The headline was followed by a blank space underneath.

Ingy Sedky, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who has been posted in Damascus for two years, said she has "never witnessed such an intensity in shelling within the city". "In some areas of Ghouta, entire families have no safe place to go". Dozens of mortars in Damascus cause civilian casualties and spread fear.

"The secretary-general is deeply alarmed by the escalating situation in Eastern Ghouta and its devastating impact on civilians", said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The YPG has controlled Afrin since government forces withdrew from Kurdish-majority northern areas in 2012.

Minutes before the shelling, about 20 vehicles with heavy machine guns mounted on them were seen entering the area as part of an agreement between the government and the main Kurdish militia in Syria known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG.

The spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey is determined to press ahead with its offensive to clear a Syrian enclave of Kurdish fighters despite an attempt by Syrian pro-government forces to enter the region.

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