Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Syrian Observatory says war has killed more than half a million

Syrian Observatory says war has killed more than half a million

Shortly before the United Nations was due to discuss Syria, Macron said Moscow, a close ally of Syria's Bashar al-Assad's regime, had not done enough to permit relief efforts into the opposition-held Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta.

Another strike hit a civil defence centre in the Laja area and residential areas in several towns, a resident in Busr al Harir said.

It said existing basement bomb shelters were so overcrowded that some families were being forced to sleep out in the open, and that at least 70 people had been buried in a park because air strikes made it unsafe to reach the town's cemetery.

One rebel commander said the strikes in the south appeared to be a warning to rebels under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) umbrella, who were planning to wage an offensive in coming days to relieve pressure on their comrades in Eastern Ghouta.

The UN humanitarian agencies have sounded the alarm about the worsening humanitarian situation for 400,000 people in that region, where activists said over 1,000 people have been killed since late last month by the heavy bombardment and military showdown in areas of Eastern Ghouta.

"There are more than 1,000 people who require medical evacuations".

In rapid advances over the weekend, Syrian government forces split eastern Ghouta in two - a northern and southern part - then cut off the key towns of Douma and Harasta from the rest of the enclave, further squeezing residents living there.

Rebel groups in eastern Ghouta have vowed they will fight on.

"This is a debate we will have in the coming hours at the United Nations, where it will be shown that the concessions on the ground from Russian Federation, but first and foremost the Syrian regime and its Iranian allies, are insufficient", Macron said. The group also did not say when the evacuations would begin or where the wounded would be taken.

According to a Monday statement released by the group, Russia will allow injured Jaysh al-Islam fighters to leave opposition-held parts of Eastern Ghouta under the supervision of Russian and United Nations personnel.

On Monday, Syrian forces pounded two rebel towns in Eastern Ghouta, pressing on with a Russia-backed offensive that has so far allowed government fighters to retake almost 60 percent of the enclave.

The Security Council demanded a 30-day ceasefire across Syria in a unanimously adopted February 24 resolution.

The hardline Islamist groups include the Islamic State group and a former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

France's President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said his country was prepared to launch targeted strikes against sites in Syria used to deploy chemical attacks on civilians. Noting that since the resolution was passed there have been three allegations of chlorine gas attacks during a stepped up military campaign against rebels, Haley told the council: "This is no cease-fire".

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