Wednesday, 21 April, 2021


Offensive against rebels intensifies in Syria, 28 civilians killed

Offensive against rebels intensifies in Syria, 28 civilians killed Offensive against rebels intensifies in Syria, 28 civilians killed
Bennie Garza | 11 February, 2018, 06:33

Russian-backed Syrian government forces began to escalate their military offensive against rebel-held areas, including Idlib province and Ghouta, last month.

President Bashar al-Assad's government has vowed to retake all of Syria from rebels who have lost large swaths of the territory they have held in a war now entering its eighth year.

The White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group, said three of its members and six others were injured in a chlorine gas attack in the Idlib town of Saraqeb on Sunday night.

The German government on Monday called for a thorough investigation into reports Syria had used chemical weapons in both Idlib and Eastern Ghouta.

Two media activists who spoke to CNN from the nearby town of Kafranbil said they were told that the chlorine attack in Saraqeb had been launched from Syrian helicopters. The Syrian American Medical Society says its hospitals in the area treated 11 patients for chlorine gas poisoning.

The Secretary noted last month in Paris that Russian Federation ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in East Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons since Russian Federation became involved in Syria.

In April a year ago, the USA struck a military base in central Syria with more than 50 Tomahawk missiles, in retaliation for an alleged chemical attack by the government forces on a rebel-held town in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The group, which was first formed in 2012 and comprises a number of different opposition factions, also called on Russian Federation to end its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who it accused in the statement of "committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, including with the use of chemical weapons". The use of chemical weapons by all parties in Syria must unequivocally stop. The inquiry also said the Islamic State group has used sulfur mustard.

The United States and Russian Federation clashed at the UN Security Council on Monday over the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States and its allies, France and Britain, of using the meeting to "slander" Moscow and cast doubt on its role in trying to broker a political settlement in Syria.

If the OPCW fact-finding missions conclude that chemical weapons have been used, "our obligation to enact a meaningful response will be further intensified", Nakamitsu said.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last week that the Syrian government had repeatedly used chlorine as a weapon, and Washington was also concerned about the potential use of sarin gas. Neighbours and global powers have been drawn into the multi-sided conflict, sponsoring allied groups on the ground.

It is supposed to be a "de-escalation zone", as agreed by Turkey, Russia and Iran.

Turkish presidential spokesperson said Turkey will not tolerate the presence of a Syrian Kurdish militia "anywhere" along its southern border, hinting that Ankara might expand its military operation underway in the Syrian enclave of Afrin eastward.

The "de-escalation" in violence they were supposed to monitor has collapsed.

Earlier reports said that Syrian governmental forces were fighting against Jabhat al-Nusra units in the Idlib province.

The Observatory said the new Turkish observation post was near the village of al-Eis.

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