Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Syria says rare USA strike an effort "to support terrorism"

Syria says rare USA strike an effort

Nauert said the "extremely concerned" about the growing violence in eastern Ghouta, as well as in Idlib.

The clash marked a fresh escalation between Washington, which has threatened the regime over its alleged use of chemical weapons, and Damascus, which labelled the latest incident in eastern Syria a "war crime".

Decrying the attacks on civilians, Parly said: "These attacks are unacceptable in terms of violence and consequences to the people".

More than 130 people have been killed since the Syrian regime intensified its bombardment on the besieged Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the capital Damascus, on February 5, rescuers and monitoring groups have said.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert called out Russian Federation on Thursday for enabling the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons on civilians.

More than 350 people - including 86 children and 68 women - have been killed in bombardments in Eastern Ghouta alone since December 29, SOHR says.

In a statement from the State Department, Washington threw its weight behind a United Nations call for a new ceasefire in Ghouta and demanded that Russian Federation rein in its ally, Bashar Al-Assad. A Western intelligence agency revealed the accusations to the BBC previous year, and claim it is in violation of an agreement by President Bashar al-Assad to destroy the nation's chemical munitions following a 2013 Sarin attack on Damascus.

The Assad regime uses the term "terrorist organizations" to describe all the rebel groups fighting the regime. The Idlib offensive has hit hospitals and residential buildings, and has intensified after al-Qaida-linked militants in Idlib shot down a Russian Su-25 fighter jet near the town of Saraqeb over the weekend. "I am not sure that the Syrian government can resist Hezbollah's attempts to drag them into a war with Israel", Avigdor Liberman said.

The United Nations has called for a month-long ceasefire amid the seven-year civil war engulfing Syria, as an upsurge of attacks have pushed besieged areas into one of the worst points seen in the crisis.

"The government of the Syrian Arab Republic calls on the UNSC to condemn the massacre and hold the worldwide coalition responsible for the killing and wounding of thousands of civilians, including children, women and elderly and to pay compensation to the families of the victims".

It also heralded the violent end of a "de-escalation" agreement, brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey, to reduce violence in Syria and prepare the ground for peace talks.

The International Committee of the Red Cross in Syria has expressed distress at the deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions in the area. The state Al-Ikhbariyah TV said there were reports that dozens were killed. According to the United Nations, almost 400,000 civilians are trapped in the area, with half thought to be children.

The campaign by the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, has also battered the province of Idlib, the largest area under opposition control.

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