- A new offensive by the Syrian regime and Russia in Eastern Ghouta, Syria has killed at least 177 civilians in the last two weeks.
- Reports have also emerged that Syria struck an area between Harasta and Douma on Saturday with three missiles filled with chlorine gas.
- The new deadly offensive has coincided with an escalation in Idlib province.
The Syrian regime and Russia began a new air and land offensive on December 31 to take back the rebel-held rural Eastern Ghouta region outside of Damascus.
New figures show how the offensive has devastated the local population.
177 civilians, including 51 children, have been killed in the last two weeks, and 811 more have been wounded, according to a statement released on Sunday by the White Helmets, a Syrian volunteer rescue group.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said on Sunday that the offensive has killed about 190 people.
“One particular heavy attack on residential buildings was so strong it reportedly injured 80 civilians including children and women,” Fran Equiza, UNICEF’s representative in Syria, said in a statement on Sunday.
The White Helmets said that Syrian regime forces fired three surface-to-surface missiles filled with poisonous gas on Saturday between the cities of Harasta and Douma.
Five women and one child were injured from the strikes, the White Helmets said. A medical center in Douma confirmed it treated six people with symptoms similar to chlorine gas poisoning, according to CNN.
The White Helmets have also released a number of brutal images and videos, including the short video below, which appears to show them rescuing civilians from Doumas on Saturday.
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) January 13, 2018
CNN also reported that hospitals in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib are being targeted, and UNICEF said that two medical facilities were hit in Eastern Ghouta in the last few days.
Russia and and the Syrian regime have been repeatedly accused in the past of targeting hospitals.
Idlib is one of the rebels’ last remaining strongholds, and part of the de-escalation zone established by Russia, Iran, and Turkey.
Russia may be increasing bombing runs on Idlib in response to attacks on its air and naval bases by a swarm of 13 drones on January 5 and January 6.
The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed the attack originated from Idlib, and hinted that a US Navy spy plane helped with the targeting. The US strongly denied the insinuations.