In Syria, the death toll has crossed over 200 including 57 children in a pro government bombing in the rebel Eastern Ghouta.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 127 civilians, including 39 children, were killed yesterday alone in the bombardment – the single bloodiest day for Eastern Ghouta in four years.
Air strikes today morning killed at least 66 civilians, including 15 children, the Britain-based war monitor said. Held by rebels since 2012, Eastern Ghouta is the last opposition pocket around Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad is keen to retake it with an apparently imminent ground assault.
The UN’s regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis, said the targeting of civilians in the enclave “must stop now”. Syria’s main opposition group condemned the government onslaught as a “bloodbath” and a “war crime”. It said it may pull out of UN-backed peace talks in protest.
On the other hand, the pro-government fighters came under bombardment from Turkey after entering the northern Afrin region, escalating a month-long offensive by Ankara.
Hundreds of Syrian pro-government forces entered the region for the first time since 2012 to face off against Turkey alongside Kurdish forces that Ankara views as an offshoot of its own internal insurgency.
More than 340,000 people have been killed since the civil war erupted in 2011 when protests against Assad’s government were brutally crushed.