Syria regime continues its ferocious bombardment of opposition enclave, despite UN ceasefire pleas

Syria regime continues its ferocious bombardment of opposition enclave, despite UN ceasefire pleas
Syria's opposition enclave of Ghouta was subject to a third day of horrific air strikes, as the UN increases its demands for an end to the bombing
2 min read
07 February, 2018
Eastern Ghouta has been one of Syria's most heavily-bombed regions [Getty-file photo]

Syria's regime ignored UN calls for a ceasefire Wednesday and subjected an opposition enclave close to the capital to a third day of horrific bombing.

Air strikes in Eastern Ghouta - situated in the Damascus' countryside - killed at least seven people Wednesday morning, as days of intense bombing left dozens dead.

"Seven civilians were killed and 15 wounded in a Syrian regime air strike on the town of Hammuriyeh," Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

Regime air strikes and shelling on other parts of the Eastern Ghouta region wounded at least 30 more, he added.

Syrian regime and Russian bombing massacred at least 80 civilians - including 19 children - Tuesday, despite the region being covered by a so-called de-escalation deal.

"This was the highest civilian toll in Syria in nearly nine months, and one of the bloodiest days for Eastern Ghouta in several years," Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The uptick in violence has led the UN to issue a strongly-worded and emotional statement condemning the killings and calling on the Syrian regime to halt its aggressive campaign on opposition territories.

"It's our moral duty to speak up," UN Assistant Secretary General Panos Moumtzis told journalists in Beirut.

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"Humanitarian diplomacy is failing," the regional coordinator for the Syria crisis said, according to The New York Times.

"We are not able to reach the conscience or the ears of politicians, of decision makers, of people in power."

The UN said that the regime only allowed around a quarter of aid deliveries to reach besieged opposition territories last year.

Damascus has completely halted aid from reaching Ghouta over the past two and prevented civilians in need of urgent medical attention from being evacuated.

The UN has also blamed the Syrian regime's allies - including Russia - of not pressing Damascus to scale down the violence.

Around 400,000 civilians live in opposition-held Eastern Ghouta region, where daily bombing, shelling and sieges have crippled life in the Damascus countryside’s towns and villages.

De-escalation zones - an agreement between Turkey, Iran and Russia - were touted as way of reducing violence in Syria, but these areas have been subject to some of the most horrific bombing in recent months.

NGOs suggest more than half a million people have been killed and half the population uprooted since war broke out in 2011, after regime troops brutally put suppressed anti-government protests sparking an armed revolt.

Agencies contributed to this story.