1.5m Suffered Permanent Physical, Psychological Injuries In Syrian War

  • 1.5m Suffered Permanent Physical, Psychological Injuries In Syrian War

1.5m Suffered Permanent Physical, Psychological Injuries In Syrian War

Syrian jets struck rebel-held towns in the country's south on Monday, the first aerial attacks on the area since the United States and Russian Federation reached an agreement making it a "de-escalation zone" a year ago, rebels and residents said.

After the army advances split up the enclave, Jaish al-Islam emerged as the strongest group in the town of Douma, Ahrar al-Sham in the town of Harasta and Failaq al-Rahman in the new southern pocket of eastern Ghouta.

The army's onslaught in eastern Ghouta, backed by air and artillery strikes, has killed about 1,160 people since February 18, a war monitor said, as President Bashar Al Assad seeks to crush the last big rebel stronghold near the capital Damascus.

The assault is one of the heaviest in the war, which enters its eighth year this week.

The Syrian government has divided Eastern Ghouta into three sections: Douma and its surroundings; Harasta in the west; and the rest of the towns further south.

Rebel groups in eastern Ghouta have vowed they will fight on.

Activists and fighters in eastern Ghouta in recent days have said the bombardment has included incendiary material that causes fires and burn injuries.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis on Sunday warned Syria against using chemical weapons, implying it would prompt military consequences, as it did previous year when President Donald Trump ordered a strike on a Syrian air base.

Mattis said that he was aware of reports of chlorine attacks on Eastern Ghouta but said that he did not have conclusive evidence that gas had been used.

Visiting Oman, Mattis stopped short of threatening to retaliate against Syrian forces if a chlorine attack were confirmed.

Last year, the U.S. responded to reports that the Syrian regime had used sarin gas against the city of Khan Sheikhoun by attacking the regime's Shayrat Air Base.

Its statement said the deal with the Russians was reached through the United Nations.

France is prepared to launch targeted strikes against any site in Syria used to deploy chemical attacks that result in the deaths of civilians, President Emmanuel Macron said.

"Now the center of Afrin is surrounded and our entry is imminent", Erdogan said in a televised speech on Friday, according to Reuters.

The area is home to around 400,000 people living under a crippling government siege since 2013 and struggling to access food, medicine, and other basic necessities.

On Saturday, the army found 60 civilians cowering in a basement in Mesraba.

US ally Jordan is anxious about a possible breakdown in the truce and a major flareup in violence, which could send tens of thousands of refugees fleeing fighting in Deraa towards the safety of its northern borders, diplomats say. But the United States directly accused Russian Federation of killing civilians.

The deaths among the regime-allied and militia fighters include 1,630 from Lebanon's Hezbollah and 7,686 from other foreign Shia groups.