Syria - Bombing in Eastern Ghouta (20 February 2018)

Syria - Bombing in Eastern Ghouta (20 February 2018)

Nauert said the United States supported a U.N. call for a month-long cessation of hostilities to allow for the delivery of aid and an emergency medical evacuation of civilians.

Besides, 13 more people were killed and 77 others wounded when militants in Eastern Ghouta fired 114 rocket and mortar rounds on several neighbourhoods here on Tuesday, said Syria state-run SANA news, citing police.

The pace of the strikes appeared to slacken overnight, but its intensity resumed later on Wednesday morning, the Observatory said.

In a statement issued on February 20, the French foreign ministry condemned "indiscriminate attacks" which "constituted a serious violation of worldwide humanitarian law".

The rebel-held Eastern Ghouta in the countryside of Syrian capital Damascus has witnessed intense airstrikes and shelling as military showdown is approaching.

"There are attempts from some global and local sides for a truce process in eastern Ghouta and they have not succeeded so far", said Mohammad Alloush, the political chief of Jaish al-Islam, one of the main rebel factions in eastern Ghouta.

The center was initially founded with the aim of speeding peace negotiations between the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups. The Syrian government claims that the only civilians who remain in the enclave are being used as human shields by the rebels, the New York Times reports.

"Today, the streets are empty", said Murad, a 23-year-old university student in the Duweida neighborhood in eastern Damascus.

The United Nations has condemned the bombing of civilian infrastructure, warning that it could constitute war crimes.

"This is a human tragedy that is unfolding in front of our eyes, and I don't think we can let things go on happening in this horrendous way", he told council members.

But the Kremlin said claims the Russian military was responsible for civilian casualties in eastern Ghouta were "unfounded".

Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) said bombs hit five hospitals in Ghouta on Monday. "I know that very important consultations are taking place in this Council, aiming at a cessation of hostilities during one month in Syria, with a number of conditions, and of course I fully support that effort, but I believe eastern Ghouta can not wait".

Eastern Ghouta is one of four Syrian de-escalation zones that were created during the Astana talks on Syrian reconciliation. "This nightmare in East Ghouta must end and must end now".