United Nations chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

United Nations chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence

In a statement issued on February 20, the French foreign ministry condemned "indiscriminate attacks" which "constituted a serious violation of worldwide humanitarian law".

The pace of the strikes appeared to slacken overnight, but its intensity resumed later on Wednesday morning, the Observatory said.

The Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation, which has backed Assad with air power since 2015, say they do not target civilians.

Recent violence in the besieged suburb is part of a wider surge in fighting on several fronts as President Assad's military pushes to end the seven-year rebellion. "The Assad regime's siege and starve tactics are. adding to the humanitarian disaster there", she said.

Panos Moumtzis, the United Nations' regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syrian crisis, said in a statement late Monday that the humanitarian situation is "spiraling out of control".

It said it may pull out of UN-backed peace talks in protest. The agency is angry at the fierce bombing by government forces that has resulted in hundreds of casualties, including children.

Those killed since the escalation began include 58 children.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the immediate suspension of "all war activities" in the Damascus suburb, where he said 400,000 people are living "in hell on earth". The pocket of satellite towns and farms has been under government siege since 2013.

Chronic Drinking is Biggest Avoidable Risk Factor for Dementia, Study Shows
Michael Schwarzinger, a researcher at the Transitional Health Economics Network in Paris and a leading author of the study. Among 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia (before the age of 65), about 57% were attributed to chronic heavy drinking .

The rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta, just outside the capital city, has been under siege for more than five years as the Syrian regime, backed by allies Russian Federation and Iran, works to systematically crush the rebel forces hiding here.

"The Syrian government is attacking all areas with all kinds of weapons - known and unknown weapons", Siraj Mahmoud, head of media for the White Helmets civil defense rescue force, which operates in rebel-held areas in Syria, told ABC News.

"They targeted everything: shops, markets, hospitals, schools, mosques, everything", Dr Bassam said.

Government airstrikes continue to pummel what's left of the rebel-held towns of eastern Ghouta.

"In many ways, we're going to see a situation similar to Aleppo, unfortunately, where the government forces certainly had the upper hand in terms of weaponry, but they'll have to retake the area block by block", Zunes said.

On Monday and Tuesday, a total of 13 medical facilities were attacked in Eastern Ghouta, according to the Syrian American Medical Society.

At least one faction in East Ghouta has links to al Qaeda, but its presence is believed to be small.

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