Russian, US airstrikes caused mass deaths in Syria, UN says

The military said: "We managed to evacuate 13 civilians, including five children, with the returning convoy".

NPR reported yesterday that attacks on eastern Ghouta continued even as a 46-truck interagency aid convoy made its way into eastern Ghouta.

Living underground has become the norm in the rebel-held enclave of 400,000, with some families in basements for the past month, some containing 200 people, said Christophe Boulierac of the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The Assad regime is shipping in hundreds of new fighters to take part in its offensive to capture the last opposition-held stronghold outside the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said Wednesday, despite efforts to impose a humanitarian ceasefire. He estimated that as many as half of the town's 40,000 residents had fled in recent weeks. That pushed the death toll to 760 in the last three weeks. Photo courtesy of Ghouta Media Center. "The people sit with multiple families, with thousands of families in basement shelters", he said. It's enough for one day.

Russian soldiers are seen securing Syrian Arab Red Crescent trucks carrying aid at a checkpoint near Wafideen camp in Damascus, March 5, 2018. Military groups did not receive any supplies, he said.

Krzysiek said there was "no electricity so it was extremely dark and we had to go".

"However, more needs to be done in the coming period", she added.

The violence called into question future aid deliveries.

"Repeated and continuous access to eastern Ghouta by humanitarian organizations is a must".

Zeid Raaad al-Hussein, head of the United Nations Human Rights Council, warned in his annual report the destruction in Ghouta would simply be repeated elsewhere without any attempts to end the conflict.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged all parties to abide by a 30-day cease-fire ordered by the Security Council on February 24 to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians in desperate need. The Observatory said an extra 700 pro-government militia fighters had arrived at the front as reinforcements to join the operation.

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, leases a military base in Syria near the Mediterranean coast. It has been implemented with daily violations for the past week, and no civilians have left the encircled region.

Earlier on Wednesday, however, Hamza Birqdar, the military spokesman of the Takfiri Jaish al-Islam outfit, said militants would stay in Eastern Ghouta and rejected talks of a withdrawal.

About a week ago, a Russia-backed ceasefire came into effect in Syria's Eastern Ghouta. The reports could not be independently confirmed, and Russian Federation used its Security Council veto to freeze the work of a United Nations body investigating such reports earlier this year.

The panel will present its findings to the Human Rights Council in Geneva next week and urged it to "ensure that there are no pardons or amnesties for those responsible for ordering or carrying out gross human rights violations and committing worldwide crimes".

  • Leroy Wright