Syria raids kill nearly 30, as war of words escalates over chlorine use

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sarin Regime bombardment killed nearly 30 people in a rebel enclave near Damascus on Monday, as Syria’s seven-year conflict left civilians paying a heavy price.

Residents across several Syrian battlefronts have reported escalating bombardment and have accused Syrian troops of deploying toxic chemicals against rebel-held zones.

The US on Monday said there was “obvious evidence” of multiple chlorine gas attacks in recent weeks, including in the opposition-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.

On Monday, dozens of air strikes and artillery fire battered Eastern Ghouta, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Twenty-nine civilians were killed and dozens were wounded,” said the war monitor’s head, Rami Abdel Rahman.

The deadliest raids on Monday hit a market in the town of Beit Sawa, killing 10 civilians including two children.

Another nine civilians, two of them children and one a local rescue worker, were killed in Arbin.

Eastern Ghouta is included in a de-escalation deal agreed to in 2017 by rebel ally Turkey and government supporters Iran and Russia.

But violence has ramped up there in recent weeks, and this month alone, chlorine is suspected of having been used on two occasions in munitions launched by the regime on Eastern Ghouta.

A third accusation of toxic gas use came from Idlib, an opposition-controlled province in the country’s northwest that also falls in a de-escalation zone.

Nearly a dozen people were treated for breathing difficulties on Sunday after Syrian government raids on the town of Saraqeb, the Observatory said.

The UN has found that Syria’s government carried out chlorine gas attacks in 2014 and 2015, and also used sarin against a town in Idlib in 2017.

Syria’s government has vehemently denied ever deploying chemical weapons in the country’s seven-year war.

News24