Offensives seen as Assad regime’s bid to eliminate opposition and as challenge to security council’s authority
Syrian regime forces launched a fresh ground and air offensive on Sunday against rebel positions in the besieged and battered enclave of eastern Ghouta in defiance of a nationwide ceasefire ordered by the UN security council.
Witnesses said fighting erupted on several fronts in what was seen as a possible last-ditch bid by Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, to eliminate opposition resistance in Ghouta, near Damascus, before the 30-day ceasefire can be enforced.
At least 14 civilians including three children were killed in strikes on Sunday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor, bringing the total number of dead in the week to 530, among them over 130 children. The monitor said the bombing was less intense than attacks over the past week.