Onslaught on Eastern Ghouta Drives out 50,000 Civilians
The fighting in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta has reportedly driven all civilians out of the towns of Mesraba, Hammouriyah and Madyara, which had a combined population of 50,000 in December, a UN official said on Thursday.
The civilians fled to the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta’s major town. The towns of Mesraba, Hammouriyah and Madyara are being subjected to relentless bombardment by regime forces and the Russian air forces who are using internationally banned weapons.
The towns of Hammouriyah and Saqba were hit with chlorine-filled barrel bombs on Thursday, causing around 124 people, many of them children, to suffer from asphyxiation. Regime forces used toxic chlorine gas despite severe international warnings about the consequences of using this type of weapon.
Local activists published a video from a hospital in eastern Ghouta in which an eyewitness said she was exposed to poison gas. The video showed a doctor who said that the patient inhaled chlorine gas.
France on Thursday reiterated its threats it would launch military strikes against the Assad regime if it uses chemical weapons against civilians. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Moscow to exert pressure on the Assad regime to comply with UN resolution 2401.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that bombardment on eastern Ghouta by the Assad regime and Russian air forces have killed 329 civilians, including 57 children in the first ten days since UN Security Council resolution 2401 was adopted.
The Network said it recorded at least seven attacks on vital civilian centers in eastern Ghouta in the same period, adding that Assad regime’s helicopters dropped about 81 barrel bombs on the Damascus suburb. It also said it had recorded one attack in which incendiary weapons were used. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)