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8 March, 2018 01:23:10 AM
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18 days under attack, death toll hits 800 in Ghouta

AFP
18 days under attack, death toll hits 800 in Ghouta
Smoke billows during fighting between Turkish-led forces and Syrian Kurdish fighters, on the outskirts of the town of Jandairis, in the region of Afrin, near the Turkish border yesterday. AFP PHOTO

BEIRUT: The Syrian regime launched a ferocious assault on a rebel enclave outside Damascus on February 18, saying it wanted to crush Islamist groups and jihadists, reports AFP.

The onslaught has since taken more than 40 percent of Eastern Ghouta and killed more than 800 civilians.

Here is a summary of events:

Government forces open a Russian-backed campaign against Eastern Ghouta with more than 260 rockets and intense air raids.

The strikes continue on February 19, when 127 civilians are killed in the highest single day death toll there since 2013, when it was besieged by regime forces.

On February 20 Russian air strikes reportedly target Eastern Ghouta for the first time in three months, hitting the key regional hospital in Arbin.

Six other hospitals are also hit in the bombardments over a 48-hour period, knocking three out of service, according to the United Nations.

On February 21, raids target several areas and aircraft drop barrel bombs—crude, improvised munitions that cause indiscriminate damage.

The Kremlin denies carrying out air strikes.

UN chief Antonio Guterres calls for an immediate ceasefire, saying the region’s 400,000 residents live in “hell on Earth”.

The chaos deepens on February 22 as the Syrian regime rains rockets and bombs on the enclave.

At the United Nations, key regime backer Russia presses for a negotiated withdrawal of rebel fighters and their families, like the one that saw the government retake full control of Aleppo in December 2016.

Syria’s UN representative Bashar al-Jaafari confirms the comparison, saying: “Yes, Eastern Ghouta will become another Aleppo.”

On February 23 US President Donald Trump slams the actions of the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian backers.

“What those three countries have done to those people is a disgrace,” he says.

On February 24 the UN Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire to allow for aid deliveries and medical evacuations.

But new air strikes batter the region the following day. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reports Syrian forces are engaged in heavy fighting with rebels, with many dead.

On February 26 the regime carries out more bombings despite the UN truce demand.

Moscow then announces President Vladimir Putin has ordered a daily five-hour “humanitarian pause” from February 27 and the opening of protected corridors to allow people to leave.

Hours after the measure is meant to take effect, the United Nations says fighting has continued, making relief operations impossible.

EA

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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