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Syria says Israeli war planes target a position near Damascus

09 February 2018

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said there was "obvious evidence from dozens of victims" of breathing difficulties to corroborate chlorine attacks in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta and Idlib province. Assad's Russian-backed regime has repeatedly been accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the use of chemical weapons against civilians, throughout the country's almost seven-year war.

France urged Russian Federation to make Syria's government ease a worsening humanitarian crisis in two rebel-held areas as more air strikes pounded them on Friday, adding to the death toll from one of the deadliest weeks of the war.

Poland's president signed into law on Tuesday a bill that imposes jail terms for suggesting the country was complicit in. "No area at all in Ghouta is safe".

"People here believe Russian Federation is taking revenge after its plane was shot down by the rebels and its pilot killed", Hazem Shami, an opposition activist in Eastern Ghouta said.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council failed to back an appeal from UN aid officials for a month-long humanitarian ceasefire in Syria.

Syrian state-run media said Thursday a rare US strike on government-backed troops in eastern Syria killed and wounded dozens of tribal fighters, calling it a new effort "to support terrorism".

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Monitor group, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), documented the killing of 369 civilians, in Eastern Ghouta from January 1, 2018, until February 7.

"Most of the medical facilities" in the eastern region of Idlib province, where the bombing is most intense, remained "out of service" this week, Khalil said.

A spokesman said 80 people died on Thursday alone in Eastern Ghouta. They include 58 children and 43 women, the UK-based group said.

France said Wednesday that "all indications" suggested the Syrian regime was using chlorine weapons against rebel forces.

A government offensive backed by Russian air support has been under way in the area since mid-December, but both Idlib and Eastern Ghouta have come under heavy fire in the past four days after a Russian pilot was shot down and killed on Saturday. The conflict in Syria is far from over.

"We would like to see a ceasefire, the end of the war, but the terrorists, I am not sure, are in agreement", he told reporters.

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The two rebel bastions were designated so-called de-escalation zones by Turkey, Russia and Iran during talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana in May. But tensions have flared as Turkish forces moved to set up one such post south of Aleppo.

The Russian military says a US strike on government-backed troops in eastern Syria reflects Washington's efforts to make a grab for the nation's economic assets.

According to the Observatory, the forces that launched the attack on SDF positions were local tribal fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and Afghan Shia militia fighting alongside the regime.

"They cover the air space of the Syrian north", the commander told Reuters.

To what extent will Moscow continue to defend the Syrian regime and block all United Nations resolutions against it under one pretext or another.

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Syria says Israeli war planes target a position near Damascus