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Syria: Assad's army massacres 71 near Damascus

Syria: Assad's army massacres 71 near Damascus

At least 100 civilians, 20 of them children were killed in a Syrian army bombardment of the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, a war monitor reported in a new toll Tuesday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 20 children were among 77 civilians killed in the assault, while around 300 other people were wounded.

The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, said the shelling and airstrikes killed 98 and that some people are still under the rubble.

After days of relative calm, the government sent more than 260 rockets sailing onto Eastern Ghouta on Sunday.

A member of the Syrian Civil Defence carries an injured child following regime air strikes on the rebel-held besieged town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region, February 7, 2018.

The United Nations issued a statement of disgust at yesterday's attacks, when 98 people died, including two doctors, 20 children and 15 women, in nearly 100 air strikes and barrel bombs and several hundred rocket strikes.

The humanitarian situation of civilians in East Ghouta is spiraling out of control.

If a deal is struck for Eastern Ghouta, HTS militants would likely be sent to the northwestern province of Idlib, which is nearly completely out of government control.

The Observatory said President Bashar al-Assad's forces were using the airstrikes to prepare for a ground offensive to retake control of eastern Ghouta.

Syrians in the capital have always been calling for the elimination of the rebels' mortar attacks, which have paralyzed the lives of many residents in the eastern Damascus neighborhoods. "The worldwide community should unite to stop this human suffering", the statement read.

Jawad al-Obros, 30, said he was looking to move to a hotel in the western sector of the city to escape his home in an east Damascus neighborhood that has been regularly hit by rockets from Ghouta.

- Regime to enter Afrin?

About 400,000 people still live under siege in Eastern Ghouta, including hundreds in urgent need of medical care outside the enclave.

Faylaq al-Rahman spokesman Wael Alwan also told AFP his group had "no correspondence or negotiations with the criminal regime or its allies".

Syria has been embroiled in a civil war since 2011.

Syria's other de-escalation zones include parts of the northeastern province of Idlib, areas in northern Homs province, and rebel-controlled territory in the south near the border with Jordan.

Ankara sees the YPG as a "terror" group linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984.

Speaking during a visit to Jordan, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned against any bid by the Syrian regime to help the YPG.

"If the regime is entering (Afrin) to oust the PKK, YPG, there is no problem".

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