[The genocidal Syrian regime led by Bashar Hafez al-Assad, actively aided and abetted by Russia and Iran, is carrying out indiscriminate aerial bombing against civilian population. Just horrific.
I. <<More than 400 people have been killed in Eastern Ghouta, a monitoring group said, as the Syrian government forces backed by Russian warplanes continued their aerial bombardment of the rebel-held area. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that at least 403 people were killed in the "hysterical attack" that began on Sunday, including 150 children. Almost 2,120 others were wounded. UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire in comments made ahead of Thursday's UN Security Council meeting.>> (Excerpted from sl. no. I. below.) II. <<Almost 200 civilians have been killed in dozens of airstrikes and shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in eastern Ghouta over two days of “hysterical violence”, which has led to warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe that could eclipse past atrocities in the seven-year war. The surge in the killing in the besieged region came amid reports of an impending regime incursion into the area outside Damascus, which is home to 400,000 civilians. More than 700 people have been killed in three months, according to local counts, not including the deaths in the last week. This is eastern Ghouta, where hundreds are being killed and injured by Assad's forces Amnesty International said “flagrant war crimes” were being committed in eastern Ghouta on an “epic scale.”>> (Excerpted from sl. no. I. below.)] I/II. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/die-400-killed-eastern-ghouta-180222145312233.html 'Survive or die together': More than 400 killed in Eastern Ghouta Syrian government aerial offensive on rebel-held enclave that began on Sunday has killed at least 403 people. by Linah Alsaafin & Zouhir Al Shimale 6 hours ago A young girl receives treatment at a makeshift hospital following regime bombardments in Eastern Ghouta region [Amer Almohibany/AFP] MORE ON SYRIA'S CIVIL WAR Haley: UN must end 'barbaric' attacks in Eastern Ghouta yesterday Refugee returns expected after Afrin operation: Turkey today Syrian civil war map: Who controls what? yesterday Syria's civil war explained from the beginning yesterday More than 400 people have been killed in Eastern Ghouta, a monitoring group said, as the Syrian government forces backed by Russian warplanes continued their aerial bombardment of the rebel-held area. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that at least 403 people were killed in the "hysterical attack" that began on Sunday, including 150 children. Almost 2,120 others were wounded. UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire in comments made ahead of Thursday's UN Security Council meeting. "The humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta is appalling and, therefore, we need a ceasefire that stops both the horrific heavy bombardment of Eastern Ghouta and the indiscriminate mortar shelling on Damascus," he said. He added the ceasefire needs to be followed by immediate unhindered humanitarian access and a facilitated evacuation of wounded people out of Eastern Ghouta, and warned against this being a repeat of Aleppo. Living under bombardment Residents of Eastern Ghouta, majority of whom are internally displaced, say there is nothing they can do and nowhere to hide. Rafat al-Abram lives in Douma and is a car mechanic. The air attacks over the last few days have disrupted his job as the street he works on was destroyed by two raids. "I managed to get some of my tools and equipment out, and fix cars whenever I can," he told Al Jazeera. "Sometimes I also fix the ambulances of the civil defence, which break down often because of their constant usage." The air offensive carried out by Syrian and Russian warplanes since Sunday has been relentless, residents of Eastern Ghouta say [Courtesy: SAMS] His wife and two teenage daughters, Khadija, 17, and Ola, 15, remain at home. They start their day by sitting together before Abram visits his neighbours to get the latest grim news. "Sometimes a bombing takes place near where I am working, which means I have to stop and hurry to help the civil defence pull victims from the rubble," he said. After Abram returns back home, he said he is haunted by the unbearable scenes he witnessed during the day. "Seeing a father or mother wailing and crying over their dead children, or a father carrying his son who has one leg amputated, or another screaming at God and then at people to help save his family who are all lying under the rubble of a building … I try to comfort them even though I want to sit and cry with them from the horror of what is happening all around us," he said. 'Survive or die together' The rebel-controlled Eastern Ghouta, a mostly rural area on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, has been under government siege since 2013. About 400,000 Syrians live there. The siege has resulted in a huge inflation of basic foodstuffs with a bag of bread costing the equivalent of $5. Malnutrition rates have reached unprecedented levels, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with 11.9 percent of children under the age of five acutely malnourished. Only one aid convoy was permitted inside the area in February, to the town of Nashabieh, but none were allowed in January and December. Seeing a father or mother wailing over their dead children, I try to comfort them even though I want to sit and cry with them from the horror of what is happening all around us. RAFAT AL-ABRAM, RESIDENT OF DOUMA Nisma al-Hatri told Al Jazeera her husband and 10-year-old daughter Sara wake up to the sound of warplanes. "Every day goes like this: bombings, then I clean the house from the effect of the nearby shelling, then we hide in one room, attempting to survive or die together," Hatri said. "My daughter Sara and I wake up with our arms around each other from the night before," Hatmi continued. "We all sleep on one mattress. She hugs me and asks me why she can't go out to play, or to school or to see her friends. I cannot answer her." The 32-year-old used to be a teacher but schools were shut down a month earlier because the situation grew too dangerous to go outside. Nevertheless, Hatmi still gives lessons to Sara and other neighbourhood children on an almost daily basis. Her husband goes out every morning for several hours and returns with barley, which Hatmi cooks with rice for their breakfast and dinner. Some days her husband returns empty-handed. 'War against civilians' Mahmood Adam, a member of the Syrian Civil Defence, described to Al Jazeera the reality of Eastern Ghouta as "disastrous". Civil defence help a man from a shelter in the besieged town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta [Bassam Khabieh/Reuters] "We are talking about a systematic targeting of civilians in their homes, schools, medical centres, marketplaces, and civil defence sites," he said. "This is an extermination of the society in this area." "There are families who have been hiding in basements and underground shelters who haven't seen the sun in days for fear of the brutality of the regime and the Russian warplanes," he continued. "We don't know whether we will be alive to tell the world what is happening in the next hour or day. The rocket launchers are relentless, and the warplanes have not left the skies of Eastern Ghouta since Sunday. "Everyone here knows this is a slaughter and a crime against humanity," he added. "This is a war against civilians." Targeting medical centres Speaking from the Turkish border city Gaziantep, Al Jazeera's Osama Bin Javaid said doctors in Eastern Ghouta are saying the circumstances are "beyond words". "What they see is body after body arriving in makeshift clinics," Bin Javaid said. "[They are] trying to give medical aid to the people who are in their hundreds being wounded in a relentless barrage of rockets, shells, and air strikes. "They are running out of medical assistance and places to put these people because at least 22 facilities, according the Syrian American Medical Society, have been targeted since Sunday," he said. A man walks out of a building's rubble carrying two crutches in Eastern Ghouta [Courtesy of SAMS] Ahmed al-Masri, spokesman for the Union of Free Syrian Doctors, told Al Jazeera government forces are targeting "every aspect of civilian life". "The regime's forces are using the most ferocious means of bombardment," he said. "As a result, many of the hospitals and medical facilities in Eastern Ghouta were directly targeted and destroyed. "Three of our medical centres were shelled and destroyed and one of our crews was killed and three others wounded." No consensus on ceasefire Meanwhile, the UN Security Council failed to reach an agreement on a resolution put forward by Sweden and Kuwait that called for a 30-day cessation of hostilities to allow the delivery of aid and evacuation of civilians from besieged Eastern Ghouta. Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said there was "no agreement" and presented amendments to the draft resolution "for it to be realistic". He also accused the Syrian civil defence, also known as the White Helmets, of being "closely affiliated with terrorist groups". The Syrian UN Ambassador Basher al-Jaafari accused the United Nations and mainstream media of backing "terrorists recruited by the US from all over the world" to fight in Syria. Al Jazeera's diplomatic correspondent James Bays said Jaafari's comments were typical of a man who has "stoutly defended his government and whatever it does". "He is representing a government that is breaching international law - effectively many would say carrying out war crimes," Bays said, speaking from the UN headquarters in New York. "He's very much supported diplomatically by Russia. They helped the Syrian government turn the tide of the war in the last two years and they are now helping do whatever it takes to win the war." [Map: Who controls what?] SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS II. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/20/its-not-a-war-its-a-massacre-scores-killed-in-syrian-enclave-eastern-ghouta?CMP=share_btn_fb 'It's not a war. It's a massacre': scores killed in Syrian enclave Aid groups warn situation in eastern Ghouta could unfold into worst atrocity of war so far Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul Tue 20 Feb 2018 17.19 GMT First published on Tue 20 Feb 2018 09.33 GMT 0:57 Bodycam footage shows children being rescued from rubble in eastern Ghouta, Syria – video Almost 200 civilians have been killed in dozens of airstrikes and shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in eastern Ghouta over two days of “hysterical violence”, which has led to warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe that could eclipse past atrocities in the seven-year war. The surge in the killing in the besieged region came amid reports of an impending regime incursion into the area outside Damascus, which is home to 400,000 civilians. More than 700 people have been killed in three months, according to local counts, not including the deaths in the last week. This is eastern Ghouta, where hundreds are being killed and injured by Assad's forces Amnesty International said “flagrant war crimes” were being committed in eastern Ghouta on an “epic scale.” Diana Semaan, the charity’s Syria researcher, said: “People have not only been suffering a cruel siege for the past six years, they are now trapped in a daily barrage of attacks that are deliberately killing and maiming them, and that constitute flagrant war crimes.” Seven hospitals have also been bombed since Monday morning in eastern Ghouta, which was once the breadbasket of Damascus but has been under siege for years by the Assad government and subjected to devastating chemical attacks. Two hospitals suspended operations and one has been put out of service. “We are standing before the massacre of the 21st century,” said a doctor in eastern Ghouta. “If the massacre of the 1990s was Srebrenica, and the massacres of the 1980s were Halabja and Sabra and Shatila, then eastern Ghouta is the massacre of this century right now.” Quick guide What is happening in eastern Ghouta? Show He added: “A little while ago a child came to me who was blue in the face and barely breathing, his mouth filled with sand. I emptied it with my hands. I don’t think they had what we do in any of the medical textbooks. A wounded child breathing with lungs of sand. You get a child, a year old, that they saved from the rubble and is breathing sand, and you don’t know who he is. “All these humanitarian and rights organisations, all that is nonsense. So is terrorism. What is a greater terrorism than killing civilians with all sorts of weapons? Is this a war? It’s not a war. It’s called a massacre.” Smoke rises from buildings following bombardment on the village of Mesraba in the rebel-held besieged eastern Ghouta region. Smoke rises from buildings following bombardment on the village of Mesraba in the rebel-held besieged eastern Ghouta region. Photograph: Hamza Al-Ajweh/AFP/Getty Images The Syrian civil defense, a search and rescue organisation, said 61 people were killed on Tuesday alone, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor, said 194 people had died in the last 48 hours– a toll that encapsulated the unbridled violence of the war in Syria. After seven years and interventions by regional and global powers, the humanitarian crisis has heightened instead of abating, as forces loyal to Assad’s regime and his Russian and Iranian backers seek an outright military victory instead of a negotiated political settlement. Exact death tolls were difficult to obtain owing to ongoing rescue operations and because some families buried their dead without taking them to local hospitals. Rebel groups responded with a wave of artillery bombardment targeting Damascus, killing 12 people and wounding 50 in government-controlled areas, according to the Observatory. Aid workers said the latest violence in eastern Ghouta, where 1,300 people died in 2013 after the Assad regime deployed sarin gas, has included the use of notorious barrel bombs. The weapons are so inaccurate that their use is seen as a war crime by human rights watchdogs. The regime has also used fighter jets and artillery bombardment, on top of the punishing siege. Eastern Ghouta is another Srebrenica, we are looking away again Read more “The situation in eastern Ghouta is akin to the day of judgment,” said Mounir Mustafa, the deputy director of the White Helmets, the volunteer group that rescues people from under the rubble of bombed buildings. The White Helmets said one of its volunteers, Firas Juma, died on Monday while responding to a bombing. In Geneva, the UN children’s fund issued a blank “statement” to express its outrage at the casualties among Syrian children, saying it had run out of words. Medical organisations said at least five clinics and hospitals, including a maternity centre, were bombed on Monday, some of them multiple times. An anaesthetist was killed in the attacks. Another two facilities were hit on Tuesday. “The bombing was hysterical,” said Ahmed al-Dbis, a security official at the Union of Medical and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), which runs dozens of hospitals in areas controlled by the opposition in Syria. “It is a humanitarian catastrophe in every sense of the word. The mass killing of people who do not have the most basic tenets of life.” [Map] Mark Schnellbaecher, the Middle East director for the International Rescue Committee, said: “Once again we are seeing civilians in Syria being killed indiscriminately. Once again we are seeing medical facilities attacked. We have long feared eastern Ghouta will see a repeat of the terrible scenes observed by the world during the fall of east Aleppo and these fears seem to be well founded.” Sonia Khush, an official with Save the Children, described the situation as “absolutely abhorrent.” “The bombing has been relentless, and children are dying by the hour,” she said. “These families have nowhere left to run – they are boxed in and being pounded day and night.” Elsewhere in Syria on Tuesday, pro-government fighters started entering the northern Kurdish enclave of Afrin, where Turkish troops have been on the offensive for a month. The development came a day after Turkey said it would hit back at the troops if their goal was to protect the Kurdish fighters. Syrian state media said Turkish troops fired on the pro-government militiamen, a development that risks widening an already complicated war. -- Peace Is Doable -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Green Youth Movement" group. To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to greenyouth+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. To post to this group, send an email to email@example.com. Visit this group at https://groups.google.com/group/greenyouth. For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.