America has launched a fresh broadside against the military offensive in Eastern Ghouta led by forces of the Assad regime, backed by their Iranian and Russian allies.
In a strongly worded statement released by the office of the White House press secretary, the Americans accused Russia of ignoring the terms of the Security Council Resolution 2401 which Vladimir Putin’s government had supported at the United Nations.
“The United States condemns the ongoing military offensive that the Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, is perpetrating against the people of eastern Ghouta,” the statement read.
“After repeatedly delaying the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2401, which demanded a 30-day cessation of hostilities across Syria, Russia has gone on to ignore its terms and to kill innocent civilians under the false auspices of counter-terrorism operations. This is the same combination of lies and indiscriminate force that Russia and the Syrian regime used to isolate and destroy Aleppo in 2016, where thousands of civilians were killed.”
The Americans went on to point out the amount of direct breaches of the material terms of any resolution not to attack the civilian population of the rebel-held territory.
“Between February 24 and 28, Russian military aircraft conducted at least 20 daily bombing missions in Damascus and Eastern Ghouta from Humaymim Airfield in northwest Syria. Pro-regime forces must immediately cease targeting medical infrastructure and civilians as part of the brutal campaign in Eastern Ghouta.
“The civilised world must not tolerate the Assad regime’s continued use of chemical weapons. The Assad regime, along with its backers in Moscow and Tehran, should adhere to UNSCR 2401, cease hostilities in and around Eastern Ghouta, and allow unfettered delivery of humanitarian aid to the nearly 400,000 innocent civilians in critical need.”
Meanwhile, a group monitoring the conflict on the ground in Ghouta reported fresh casualties from the bombing campaign.
"Thirty-four civilians were killed in regime strikes and rockets on eastern Ghouta," said Rami Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, adding that 11 of the victims were children. Mr Rahman also said 26 of the people killed were in Ghouta's main town of Douma and its eastern suburb.