Syria Daily: UN — Assad Regime “Must Be Referred to the International Criminal Court” Over East Ghouta

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Girls in East Ghouta, near Syria's capital Damascus, amid bombardment and siege by pro-Assad forces

UN human rights head: “Let it not be thought that the perpetrators will get away with this”


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UPDATE 1145 GMT: More civilian casualties, including children, are reported from regime-Russian attacks on Saturday morning:


A high-ranking UN official has said the Assad regime must be taken to the International Criminal Court for prosecution over its assault on East Ghouta near Syria’s capital Damascus.

Commenting on the attacks by the regime and its allies which have killed almost 950 civilians in the past month and wounded thousands, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein, spoke of “likely war crimes and potentially crimes against humanity” — “Syria must be referred to the International Criminal Court. Attempts to thwart justice and shield these criminals are disgraceful”:

For half a decade, the people of Eastern Ghouta have been under siege. They have suffered airstrikes, shelling and on several occasions, civilians have reportedly died gasping for breath after toxic agents were released. They have endured every kind of deprivation, with no aid getting through since November except for one single convoy of humanitarian aid on 14 February that managed to reach just 7,200 people, of the hundreds of thousands who are living in this area. As a direct result, thousands upon thousands of children in Eastern Ghouta are acutely malnourished and profoundly traumatised. And now they are facing one of the most pitiless onslaughts in this long-running and brutal civil war.

Hussein said at least 14 medical facilities were damaged or destroyed between February 18 and February 22, and spoke of the claimed chlorine attack on the village of Shifouniya that killed two children and wounded at least 16 other people.

Referring to the ICC’s conviction of war criminals such as Bosnian Serb leader Ratko Mladic, Hussein said, “Let it not be thought that the perpetrators will get away with this.”

The Assault by the Regime — and Russia

Hoping to enable the takeover of East Ghouta, held by the opposition since 2012 despite the bombardment and a five-year regime siege, pro-Assad forces have been bombing, shelling, and rocketing the area of more than 350,000 people for months.

The assault was stepped up from late January, defying the “de-escalation zone” which had been agreed between Russia and rebels last July. Moscow has supported the attacks, while trying to provide cover with the declaration of a five-hour “humanitarian pause” each day and a non-existent “evacuation corridor”.

Attacks have continued during the other 19 hours of the day, and aid agencies said the pause is too short to provide assistance that has been blocked by the regime. Only two people — a Pakistani couple — have left the territory under an arrangement with the regime.

A pro-Assad blog, The Arab Source, says Russian warplanes are involved in bombing, including near Shifouniya, the site of the claimed chlorine attack on January 25.

The monitor Airwars reports a record high of 78 alleged Russian civilian casualty incidents across Syria between February 19 and 25 — a surge of 700% from the previous. All but four of the strikes were reported in East Ghouta.

At least 324 civilians were reportedly killed in the strikes, including at least 59 children and 42 women.

See Mass Killings and A Humanitarian Crisis: Welcome to Syria’s East Ghouta
Syria Daily, March 2: 15 More Killed in Pro-Assad Assault on East Ghouta

UN satellite images, published by Al Jazeera, show extensive devastation since February 23. Einar Bjorgo of the UN Operational Satellite Programme said “It can be hard to distinguish between residential and businesses, but we do observe damage to [many different] buildings, including what seems to be residential areas.”

Noor and Alaa, who have informed the world of developments in East Ghouta through social media, posted a video on Friday:

While 14 more civilians were slain on Friday, pro-Assad forces continued their ground offensive. The Syrian military declared the capture of the villages of Hawsh al-Dawahra and Hawsh Zreika and nearby hills and farmland. Rebels and local sources said fighting is ongoing, after heavy casualties among pro-Assad troops.

A pro-Assad commander — likely from Hezbollah — told Reuters, “What is happening at present is biting and taking some villages from the eastern side.”

As a further element in the “information warfare” around the offensive, Russian embassies have been trying to discredit White Helmets rescuers, thus undermining efforts to withstand the regime-Russian attacks:

Western Leaders Confer

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel each spoke with Donald Trump on Friday about steps to halt the assault. Last weekend, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution for 30-day ceasefire, but Russia watered down the terms, with the removal of a 72-hour timetable for implementation.

The Elysee Palace said Macron and Trump agreed that Russia needed to“unambiguously exert maximum pressure on the regime in Damascus”. Macron also said France would have a“firm response” if it transpired chemical weapons had led to civilian deaths.

Merkel’s spokesman said Trump agreed that Damascus, Russia, and Iran should“promptly and fully” implement the UN resolution for a ceasefire.

Residents of East Ghouta comment, “Ceasefire? What ceasefire?”


Turkish-Rebel Offensive Claims Town in Kurdish Canton of Afrin

The Turkish-rebel offensive against the Kurdish canton of Afrin has claimed its first key town.

The Turkish-Free Syrian Army force moved into Raju, 25 km (16 miles) northwest of Afrin city, on Friday. The town is the second, following Bulbul, captured by the offensive that began on January 18.

Local Kurdish forces maintained that fighting continues in Raju.

Turkish-FSA troops take down a Syrian regime flag and stomp on it:

The offensive has also surrounded the town of Jinderes, taking all the nearby high ground. At the end of February, the Turkish-FSA force established control of the entire northwest Syrian area on the Turkish border.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. “Assad Regime “Must Be Referred to the International Criminal Court” Over East Ghouta”
    .
    So must Russia and Iran!!!

  2. The real success of Turkey is capturing towns and villages with minimal destruction. Compare this to what american barbarians did to raqqa or russian barbarians are doing to east ghuta.

    https://twitter.com/worldonalert/status/969869868630728704

    Today’s gains in olive branch operation:

    Shamanli, Sheran : north-east of afrin

    Ramadiye, Jamellek: jinderes countryside

    Rajo: north-west of afrin

    • This is really terrible (or effective, for the gullible and the zealots) propaganda to cover past and future Assad regime chemical attacks on East Ghouta.

      • “The Arabic-language Al-Manar News Channel reported that the terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta have opened fire at several children who were killed as they were trying to exit the region via a humanitarian corridor.

        Al-Manar quoted local sources as saying that the White Helmets will probably use images of the targeted children in their scenarios to accuse the Damascus government of carrying out chemical attack on people in Eastern Ghouta.”

        Epsilon-minus semi-moron-oriented propaganda.

          • Global Research is a fake news nutty website. But there has been some reports of some factions of rebels firing elephant cannons that were filled with chlorine. Basically propane tanks that were refilled with Chlorine. Not that it is effective or anything when fired in that manner.

        • OMG. LMAO. Did you really just cite Global research as a legit source? LOLOL. This explains so much. Global research is a notorious site run by a nutty Canadian conspiracy theorist. Good grief.

          • Cop to Andre: Clearly you murdered the guy – you are holding a bloody knife in your hand.
            Andre: Nope, if I had murdered the guy, the knife would be in his back and not in my hands.

    • Another fake news website run by the Iranian government, surely Razmjoo (literally warmonger). Aren’t you embarrassed for spreading fake news and conspiracy theories here?

  3. https://mobile.twitter.com/GregoryPWaters/status/969655076666126338/photo/1
    This is an interesting account that does its best to count SAA/NDF deaths in the war.It claims around 400 deaths of pro gov syrians in Feb.It shows an increase in fighters from Homs dying in battles like Damascus which ties in with homs NDF having funds pulled and them joining SAA perhaps.Lets up the average Syrian losses to 600 per month,and we get around 7k SAA/NDF losses for 2018.Maybe 15k wounded.

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