Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

United Nations warns of 'apocalypse' in Syria

United Nations warns of 'apocalypse' in Syria

In 2013, Eastern Ghouta was the target of a suspected government chemical weapons attack that shocked the world. It would also be the worst setback for rebels since the opposition was ousted from eastern Aleppo in late 2016 after a similar siege and bombing campaign.

"I'm going to suffocate", two children screamed as rescue workers carried them down from the roof.

In Syria, the relentless bombing of a rebel-controlled area near Damascus has created a desperate situation for civilians.

The government said it had taken control of between 30 percent and 40 percent of Ghouta since mid-February.

"Clearly the situation on the ground is not such that convoys can go in or medical evacuations can go out", said United Nations humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke.

Over those years, and in addition to ongoing attacks using conventional weapons, the area has witnessed multiple chemical weapons attacks that the Syrian government and Russian Federation persistently frame as being orchestrated by rebel groups, when all evidence emerging from the ground points the finger at the government and its allies. "Claims by the government of Syria that it is taking every measure to protect its civilian population are frankly ridiculous", he said.

The brutality of the campaign by the Syrian government forces and Russian Federation in Eastern Ghouta naturally begs the question of what their endgame is.

An East Ghouta resident receives treatment for chlorine gas inhalation on Wednesday night.

Doctors at one facility treated at least 29 patients with signs of exposure to chlorine, according to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which supports hospitals in Eastern Ghouta.

Such reports, which have been recurrent in the past weeks, could not be independently confirmed.

Speaking during a joint news conference with his Austrian counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Vienna on Thursday that Turkey wants the operation to end as fast as possible so that Afrin can "quickly embrace stability and civilians can return".

On Thursday, a United Nations aid convoy scheduled to enter the enclave was postponed, International Committee of the Red Cross spokesperson Iolanda Jaquement told CNN.

According to the White Helmets civil defense agency, today's deadliest bombardment - which left 20 people dead, majority children and women - took place in Hammuriyah, Eastern Ghouta.

Syrian-Kurds flee the city of Afrin as Turkish-backed forces advance in the battle against Kurdish fighters.

Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his government hopes that the cross-border military offensive in Afrin will end before May.

Like this: