Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Russian attack on Syrian market may be war crime

The Latest UN to meet on failed Syria cease-fire The Latest UN to meet on failed Syria cease-fire
Judith Alexander | 08 March, 2018, 02:04

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, leases the Hemeimeem military base in Syria, near the Mediterranean coast.

Rebels in Syria's Eastern Ghouta "refuse to leave" and have reiterated they will defend the area, saying a Russian-proposed withdrawal was not a serious offer, a spokesperson of one of the rebel groups in the enclave told Al Jazeera.

The United Nations says an aid convoy carrying humanitarian assistance has started entering the town of Douma in Damascus' besieged rebel-held suburbs of eastern Ghouta.

After six and a half years collecting evidence, commission members said on Tuesday that they planned to work vigorously on behalf of the victims but emphasized "there can be no trade-off between justice for the victims and a viable political solution" to the conflict.

Misraba, a farm town in the center of East Ghouta, is the largest settlement standing in the way of pro-government ground forces as they battle to sever the pocket of rebel-held territory just east of Damascus in two.

"The situation is catastrophic", said a doctor speaking from the rebel pocket. A March 7 Kremlin statement about the gathering did not specify the exact date or where the meeting would take place.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that Syrian forces were making advances in the vicinity of Jisreen town.

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The mission on Monday to the area known as eastern Ghouta was cut short after the government shelling escalated while the aid workers were still inside, calling into question future aid shipments to the encircled region, the last major opposition stronghold near the capital.

Meanwhile, the United Nations believes that over 400,000 people continue to be trapped in Eastern Ghouta, where supplies are quickly running out and aid convoys are struggling to get through.

An AFP reporter in Hammuriyeh said air strikes had hit the town overnight and only a few residents emerged from their cellars after daybreak for fear of more.

An UNHCR aid convoy drives through the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria March 5, 2018.

Aksoy said the camps would host a total of 170,000 people.

Turkey has also launched a campaign to oust a Syrian Kurdish militia from the enclave of Afrin that Ankara considers to be "terrorist" and linked to an insurgency within Turkey's own borders.

And three USA -led coalition strikes on a school near Raqqa in March 2017 killed 150 residents - roughly five times the toll acknowledged by the Pentagon, which said at the time that dozens of militants and not civilians were killed.

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