“There is no safe area at all.”
The UN called on Tuesday for a one-month humanitarian ceasefire in Syria, but there was no sign of a pause in Russia and regime bombing, which killed scores of people in the northwest and near Damascus yesterday.
More than 50 people were reportedly killed and more than 250 injured within hours in the besieged East Ghouta area near the capital. By the end of Tuesday, the death toll exceeded 80, according to rescuers.
At the same time, Russia-regime strikes pounded Idlib Province in an assault which has devastated civilian areas and knocked out at least nine medical facilities in the past 10 days.
UN war crimes experts said they are investigating reports of an Assad regime chlorine attack on Saraqeb in Idlib Province — a target of more than 100 airstrikes within days — after three chlorine assaults on towns in East Ghouta since January 13.
With almost 100 people slain in East Ghouta since Sunday, Siraj Mahmoud, the head of the local White Helmets rescuers, said:
Today there is no safe area at all. This is a key point people should know: there is no safe space.
Right now, we have people under rubble, the targeting is ongoing, warplanes on residential neighborhoods.
A resident, Hassan Tabajo, said 25 people were killed in his town alone. They included his cousin, the 10th relative Tabajo has lost in the war. He died in a strike on a building which also housed a center that trained women in English and tailoring. Three students and a teacher were slain.
Watch in two minutes the daily life of the people of #EasternGhouta
Today tens qere killed and hospitals are over loaded with injuries.
An action on the international must be immediately taken.#SaveEastGhouta pic.twitter.com/OB5mQzgsAO
— UOSSM Suisse (@UOSSM_Suisse) February 6, 2018
Russia had declared de-escalation zones in both areas last summer and autumn; however, Moscow has set these aside to carry out the bombing in support of pro-Assad attempts to take opposition territory.
A pro-Assad offensive has re-entered southeast Idlib Province, almost all of which has been held by the opposition since March 2015, and is now 15 km (9 miles) from Saraqeb. The attacks in East Ghouta have been rebelled, but almost 400,000 residents are at risk now only from bombardment but also from a tightening 5-year siege that has caused deaths from lack of food and medical treatment.
The Assad regime has blocked all requests from the UN for aid deliveries to East Ghouta since last summer, except for a token convoy at the start of December.
“For the last two months we have not had a single convoy. This is really outrageous,” Panos Moumtzis, assistant UN Secretary General, said on Tuesday. “There is a misperception that the de-escalation areas have resulted in peace and stability….If anything, these have been serious escalation areas.”
An activist summarized, “We are not able to reach the conscience or the ears of people in power.”
Neither Russian State media nor the Assad regime’s outlets has acknowledged the escalation of bombing and sieges. Instead, regime outlets headlined that three people in the Old City of Damascus were killed by rebel shelling on Tuesday.
Footage of the bombing of a hospital in Ma’arat al-Num’an, the largest in Idlib Province, with the evacuation of babies from the complex:
Dramatic before-and-after footage inside a bombed hospital in #Syria's #Idlib province, an area which has become the target of regular airstrikes. @Sophiemcneill has more tonight on #abc730 pic.twitter.com/tEfwJQCTJe
— abc730 (@abc730) February 7, 2018
Regime Media: Israel Hits Defense Center Near Damascus
Syrian State media says Israeli jets, operating from Lebanese airspace, hit a regime military complex for the second time in three months on Wednesday.
Reports on social media said three explosions were heard at the center in the town of Jamraya, north of Damascus. The complex is a center for the development of missiles, rockets, and munitions for chemical attacks.
Israel has periodically struck regime military facilities, warehouses, and convoys throughout Syria’s 83-month conflict, hoping to disrupt the supply of weapons to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, an ally of the regime.
Last month, the Israel Defense Forces attacked an arms depot near Damascus with jets and ground-to-ground missiles. That assault followed strikes in early December on a base, southwest of the capital, reportedly being developed by Iranian forces.