New Raids Kill 13 in Syria Suburb 02/22 06:15
BEIRUT (AP) -- A new wave of deadly Syrian government bombardment in the
opposition-held eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus on Thursday killed 13
people as world leaders and aid groups called for an end to the carnage that
has killed hundreds of people in recent days.
The airstrikes on rebel towns in the suburb known as eastern Ghouta were
reported by several local opposition activist groups and a Britain-based war
monitor. The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, that works
in opposition-held areas said its paramedics rushed to several areas after the
Syrian government forces have been pounding the area for days, hitting
residential buildings, hospitals and infrastructure and overwhelming medics and
rescue workers. The bombardment has forced many among the nearly 400,000
residents to sleep in basements and makeshift shelters, and has overwhelmed
rescue workers who have spent days digging out survivors from the wreckage of
bombed out buildings.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate suspension
of "all war activities" in the area where he said people are living "in hell on
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Thursday for the European Union to
step up pressure on Russia and Iran to end the violence in Syria.
"The regime is not fighting against terrorists, but against its own people,
killing children, destroying hospitals, and this is a massacre to be
condemned," she told Parliament.
Besides President Bashar Assad, Merkel said "Iran and Russia have a
particular responsibility" as they are both supporting the government forces.
She said Germany's foreign minister plans to talk directly with his Russian
counterpart and called for other EU nations to also do what they can.
"We need to do everything in our power to put an end to this massacre," she
Russian news reports, meanwhile, said Moscow has beefed up its forces in
Syria with several warplanes, including its latest fighter jets.
News outlets on Thursday carried pictures of a pair of Su-57 fighters
heading to land at Hemeimeem air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia
that serves as the main hub for Russian operations in Syria. An early warning
A-50 plane, four Su-35 fighters and four Su-25 ground attack jets also arrived
at the base Wednesday.
The Kremlin on Thursday wouldn't comment on the reports, referring the
questions to the military that remained mum about the deployment.
Russia has rejected allegations it was responsible for the mounting civilian
casualties in eastern Ghouta.