The Syrian government has continued its bombardment of Damascus’ last rebel-held enclave in defiance of a U.N. ceasefire resolution, allegedly launching at least one chlorine attack.
A relentless campaign of bombing and shelling has killed hundreds of people in the suburb of eastern Ghouta last week, prompting the passage of a unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution Saturday that had urged a 30-day truce “without delay,” the BBC reports.
The resolution allows for aid deliveries and medical evacuations but does not prohibit operations against unspecified “terrorists” operating in the area — the latter a concession important in securing Russian support.
Hours after it passed, troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad launched a fresh ground offensive. Airstrikes also continued Sunday, albeit at a lower intensity than on previous days.
Sunday’s airstrikes killed at least three people, according to the BBC. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that warplanes and artillery fire killed at least 22 people in the area.
Relief organization the Syrian American Medical Society told the BBC that a local hospital admitted patients showing symptoms that would suggest a gas attack. Citing doctors in the area, the Post reports that a child who suffocated when a suspected chlorine bomb was dropped on the suburb was among the dead.
In a joint phone call, Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to compel Syria to respect the terms of the truce.
Iran, which like Russia is a crucial backer of Assad, said that its forces would “adhere” to the ceasefire but continue their operations in “parts of the suburbs of Damascus, which are specifically controlled by the terrorists of the Nusra Front and other terrorist groups,” Reuters reports.
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