UN demands 'immediate ceasefire' as Syria death toll mounts
UN officials in Syria called for fighting to stop to enable aid deliveries and the evacuation of sick and wounded, listing seven areas of concern including northern Syria's Kurdish-led Afrin region, being targeted by a Turkish offensive.
"For the last two months we have not had a single (aid-delivery) convoy. This is really outrageous," said Panos Moumtzis, assistant UN secretary general and regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria Crisis.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday's death toll was the highest it had recorded since December. The monitoring group said the campaign against Ghouta has killed at least 350 civilians, including more than 80 children.
"Minute after minute, the number of casualties rises," a rescuer from the White Helmets said in a video from Eastern Ghouta posted on the group's Facebook page. "No area at all in Ghouta is safe. ... We don't know what to say."
Paulo Pinheiro, head of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said the regime siege of Eastern Ghouta featured "the international crimes of indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate starvation of the civilian population".
Reports said airstrikes hit at least three hospitals in the past 48 hours.
"There is a misperception that the de-escalation areas have resulted in peace and stability... if anything, these have been serious escalation areas," said Moumtzis.