More civilians die as air raids intensify in Eastern Ghouta

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Russian Federation dismissed calls for a month-long humanitarian ceasefire as the UN Security Council met to discuss the worsening humanitarian crisis.

On Sunday, the White Helmets search-and-rescue group and a medical charity reported that several people suffered breathing difficulties after a suspected chlorine gas attack on Saraqeb, days after the Trump administration accused Assad's government of producing and using "new kinds of weapons" to deliver poisonous gases.

Though he appears to have survived the insurgency, his forces continue to bomb and besiege opposition pockets across Syria, including in eastern Ghouta and Idlib.

Consequently, there has been an escalation in military activity and violence in both Eastern Ghouta and Idlib in particular.

"I firmly condemn the indiscriminate bombing the regime is carrying out against defenseless people and civilian infrastructure", said a statement by Angelino Alfano, Italy's Foreign Minister.

At least two civilians were killed in retaliatory rebel mortar fire on government-controlled areas of Damascus, according to state news agency SANA.

Syrian rescue workers and activists say at least 35 civilians, including a medic and children, have been killed in relentless regime strikes in the opposition-held region near the capital Damascus. There were certain incidents which were inflated by Arab media, belonging to opponents of Bashar al-Assad regime in the region.

Rescue worker searching for civilians after bombardment in Douma city
Rescue worker searching for civilians after bombardment in Douma city

Eastern Ghouta and Idlib, a northern province where violence also flared this week, are both so-called de-escalation zones agreed previous year in a bid to pave the way for an end to the conflict.

In Al-Hasakah, an agreement was reached to allow some United Nations partners to resume their work, after a month in which most humanitarian assistance came to a complete halt.

In Hammuriyeh, a young man stared at the bodies of five children, including his younger brother, killed in an air strike. Dozens of people were seriously injured, and a number of medical clinics had been destroyed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom -based war monitor.

The SSRC is promoted by the Syrian government as a civilian research institute but the U.S. accuses the agency of focusing on the development of non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them.

More than 340,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the conflict in Syria erupted in March 2011.

The US backed the plea but Russian Federation - a longtime ally of Syria's government - shrugged it off on Thursday.

Washington, which a year ago launched cruise missiles on a regime airfield in retaliation for a nerve agent attack in Khan Sheikhun that killed scores of people, has threatened more military action.

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