18.02.21 Syria Ghouta

February 21, 2018
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Syria: Deadly Days

Horrific Bombings Return

  • At least 340+ civilians dead (including children) since Feb 4.
  • Hundreds injured; six hospitals hit in airstrikes.
  • Bombings intensified THIS week as Syrian gov’t targets Ghouta, an eastern suburb of Damascus.

Ghouta = “GOO-Ta”

Ghouta: Large suburb of Damascus where some anti-Assad forces are centered.

Damascus: Capital of Syria & home to 1.7 million.A World heritage site & center of gov’t led by President Assad.

Why is Ghouta the target?

  • One of the final anti-Assad “rebel” or “opposition” held areas in Syria.
  • Anti-Assad forces are fighting against the regime of Syrian Pres. Assad (who is helped by Russia & Iran).
  • Syrian gov’t allegedly attacked same area with chemical weapons in 2013.

War Crimes on an “Epic Scale”

‘The Syrian government, with the backing of Russia, is intentionally targeting its own people in Eastern Ghouta.”

Amnesty International

Russia’s Role

The Kremlin rejects allegations that the Russian military is responsible for civilian deaths; says targeting “illegal armed groups.”

Russia has waged an air campaign in support of Assad’s forces since Sept. 2015. Russians are also reportedly part of ground campaign.

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Chilling Warning:
Ground Campaign to Follow?

“The offensive has not started yet. This is preliminary bombing.”

Pro-Assad Commander to Reuters – Syria asserts its targeting terrorists not civilians.

White House Supports UN Action

“Assad and his deplorable regime must stop committing additional atrocitiesA and must not beA furtherA abetted byA backers in Moscow and Tehran.”

WH Press Secretary on Syrian Regime Attacks in Eastern Ghouta, Feb 21, 2018

America & Syria

  • American forces/airstrikes not in Ghouta at this time.
  • U.S. airstrikes continue to target ISIS inside Syria.
  • U.S has helped *some* anti-Assad forces in the past.
  • ICYMI: US military came under attack by pro-Assad forces at the “Syrian Democratic Forces” headquarters on Feb. 7, 2018. Fierce fighting followed.

What Can Be Done?
Focus Turns To UN

  • Proposed vote by United Nations on 30-day cease-fire in Syria
  • Cease-fire would be used to deliver aid, evacuate sick & wounded
  • Russia calls cease-fire “unrealistic.”
  • Remains to be seen if UN resolution would be honored or effective.

Complicated & Deadly: Conflict In Syria important to watch

by Jenna Lee,