War crimes of Russia-backed regime creating 'apocalypse' in Syria

Caravanserai and AFP

The blistering onslaught in Eastern Ghouta has prompted international outrage, with a top UN official saying that Moscow and Damascus are orchestrating an 'apocalypse' in Syria. Pictured here are children and other civilians after air strikes and barrel bombs hit the towns of Saqba, Kafr Batna and Hammuriyeh in Syria's besieged rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta. [Amer Almohibany/AFPTV/AFP]

EASTERN GHOUTA, Syria -- The Syrian regime's Russia-backed air and ground campaign against an opposition enclave in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, has cut off desperately needed aid deliveries to tens of thousands of besieged civilians.

Fresh air strikes and clashes shook the opposition enclave Thursday (March 8), with dozens of patients treated for breathing difficulties -- symptoms consistent with a toxic attack, according to medics.

The blistering Syrian government onslaught, backed by the Kremlin, has prompted international outrage, including accusations by the United Nations (UN) that the government was orchestrating an "apocalypse".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 60 residents of Eastern Ghouta were left struggling to breathe after air strikes and barrel bombs hit the towns of Saqba and Hammuriyeh.


A Syrian civil defence volunteer tries to put out a fire engulfing a man fatally wounded in the bombardment of the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on March 7, 2018. More than 900 civilians have been killed since the Russia-backed regime began its bombing over two weeks ago. [Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP]


A wounded Syrian boy receives treatment at a make-shift hospital following Russia-backed Syrian regime air strikes in besieged Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus March 5. [Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP]


Volunteers from Syrian civil defence help a man during Russia-backed Syrian shelling of opposition-held areas in Eastern Ghouta March 6. [Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP]


A picture taken March 1 shows a Russian military policeman standing guard between portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) outside a guard-post at al-Wafideen check-point on the outskirts of Damascus. [Louai Beshara/AFP]


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (left) and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, are seen together laughing at an international conference in Moscow February 17. On February 18, the Syrian military, backed by Russia and Iranian militias, launched a massive air and ground campaign against Eastern Ghouta that has so far killed more than 900 civilians,  including at least 179 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. [IRNA]

Doctors at one medical facility in Eastern Ghouta said they treated at least 29 patients with signs of exposure to chlorine, according to the Syrian American Medical Society, a medical charity that supports hospitals in rebel-controlled zones in Syria.

Syria, Russia planning next 'apocalypse'

The latest assault on Eastern Ghouta began February 18 with the Russia-backed Syrian army and allied militia launching an intense air and ground campaign to retake the last opposition bastion near Damascus.

Government forces have since captured more than half of the rebel-held parts of the area and killed more than 900 civilians, including at least 179 children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Air strikes continued to hit the remaining rebel-controlled parts of Ghouta Thursday (March 8).

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the Syrian regime and its foreign allies were already planning their next "apocalypse".

"This month, it is Eastern Ghouta," he said.

"Next month or the month after, it will be somewhere else where people face an apocalypse -- an apocalypse intended, planned and executed by individuals within the government, apparently with the full backing of some of their foreign supporters," a reference to Russia and Iran.

Aid delivery delayed, cut short

Aid agencies postponed a convoy of vital food and health supplies to Eastern Ghouta Thursday, as a result of the Russian-backed Syrian regime's relentless air and ground campaign.

"The convoy for today is postponed, as the situation is evolving on the ground, which doesn't allow us to carry out the operation in such conditions," International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokeswoman Ingy Sedky told AFP.

The joint convoy of the ICRC, UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent was expected to deliver aid to Eastern Ghouta's main town of Douma.

A reporter contributing to AFP saw the trucks Thursday parked on the edges of Eastern Ghouta, at the government-controlled al-Wafideen check-point.

It marks the second time this week that aid operations to Eastern Ghouta have been disrupted by heavy bombardment.

The delivery of medical and food supplies was supposed to take place Sunday, but it had been postponed because of the regime's refusal to allow the entry of some medical supplies, particularly surgical kits, dialysis machines and some medicines such as insulin.

"The prohibition of these items appeared to be an attempt by the regime to pressure residents to leave Eastern Ghouta for treatment," al-Sahli said.

'Russian truce is a farce'

The UN Security Council February 24 demanded a 30-day cessation of hostilities, but the resolution has done little to bring relief to civilians.

The council met behind closed doors for three hours Wednesday to discuss the failed truce.

A previous "humanitarian pause" announced by Russia in late February failed to end violence in Eastern Ghouta and has inspired little trust from among the besieged enclave's 400,000 residents.

Many in the enclave appeared distrustful of the "pause" announced by Damascus's main ally.

"This Russian truce is a farce. Russia is killing us and bombing us every day," said Samer al-Buaidhani, a 25-year-old from Douma.

"I don't believe it's safe for me or my family to leave by this system," he told AFP.

The regime deployed buses at al-Wafideen to transport residents wanting to flee what UN chief Antonio Guterres has called "hell on earth".

But no civilians were seen venturing towards the regime forces guarding the check-point, where large portraits of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin could be seen side by side.

Russia 'war crime' in Syria market bombing

Meanwhile, Russian forces were behind a deadly strike on a crowded market in Syria late last year, UN investigators said Tuesday (March 6), adding that the attack could amount to a "war crime".

Air strikes on a market in rebel-held Atareb in northern Syria November 13 killed at least 84 people, including five children, and injured about 150 others, the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Syria said in its latest report.

"The commission confirmed the use of unguided blast weapons by Russian aircraft in a civilian populated area," commission chief Paulo Pinheiro told reporters in Geneva.

The war crimes investigators stressed that "the use of unguided bombs, including blast weapons, in a densely civilian populated area may amount to the war crime of launching indiscriminate attacks."

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All the war crimes will be investigated, and the perpetrators will be punished sooner or later!


Soon, very soon, all these lies will come down on these foul countries like a ton of bricks 1,000 times [stronger] in reality... Then these sordid countries, with their lies, guile, and criminal actions will get the picture how difficult it is to breathe in radioactive ashes...


Are they sellouts?


Dirty CIA lies! What a corrupt, vile news outlet.


May Allah punish those Assad butchers and Putinoids [a derogatory name for Putin supporters and allies] for their atrocities. Amen!!


Do not dishonor the name you've chosen to be your nickname. The USA and its pack of European scoundrels are to blame for everything.


When did the website start spreading hatred for Russia


That is the very reason this website was set up. Look up the materials they post here. It is just sheer aggression and the incitement of ethnic strife.


I think that here they publish things that they don't talk about on national TV channels, where telling the truth doesn't pay...