US, Russia clash at United Nations over Syria chlorine attacks

07 February, 2018, 01:10 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • US, Russia clash at United Nations over Syria chlorine attacks

"These reports are extremely troubling, and make a mockery of the so-called "de-escalation zones" meant to protect civilians from such bombardment", said Commission Chair Paulo Pinheiro.

The White Helmets say three people died while the Britain-based Syria Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at five.

Rebel-held areas in Eastern Ghouta, meanwhile, continue to be a target of airstrikes, a Syrian monitoring group said.

Insurgent shelling of government-held Damascus killed three people, the Observatory and Syrian state media reported.

The onslaught around Damascus came a day after a rash of air strikes battered opposition areas, killing more than 28 people around the country and striking at hospitals and residential buildings in north-western Idlib province.

A Turkish soldier was killed in a rocket and mortar attack in northwest Syria as Turkish forces were setting up a military post in the largest remaining stronghold of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey's military said on Tuesday.

Mounting attacks in Idlib come at a time when the escalation of violence in eastern Ghouta has also magnified the longstanding humanitarian crisis in that besieged pocket on the north-eastern outskirts of Damascus.

A joint investigation team comprising experts from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015 and used the nerve agent sarin in an aerial attack on Khan Sheikhoun last April 4 that killed about 100 people and affected about 200 others.


The Russian military has asked Turkey to help recover the debris of the Russian fighter jet that was shot down over a rebel-controlled part of Syria over the weekend.

"The agreed inter-agency bi-monthly plan to reach besieged and hard-to-reach areas is paralyzed due to access restrictions or lack of agreement concerning locations, supplies and number of beneficiaries", the statement said. It said one of its workers was killed by an airstrike while attempting a rescue in the area.

Meanwhile, Turkish operations against Syrian Kurdish forces, and U.S. and Russian-backed operations against Islamic State, have compounded the suffering of Syrians in the country's north and east.

That deployment is separate from a Turkish military offensive that Ankara launched last month to rout USA -backed Syrian Kurdish fighters from the northern enclave of Afrin.

Observers say Russian Federation has ramped up its air campaign in Idlib after one of its fighter jets was shot down by rebels in the province on Saturday.

Iran urged Turkey on Monday to halt its two-week-old military offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria's Afrin region, which is adjacent to Idlib.

"We implore the global community to speak with one voice, taking every opportunity to publicly pressure the Assad regime, and its supporters, to cease its use of chemical weapons", spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Monday night.

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