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Turkey bombs Kurdish city of Afrin

12 February 2018

Rebels fired shells from Eastern Ghouta into Damascus, striking popular squares in and around the old city, Syrian state media reported.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said F-16 jets resumed bombing Thursday night, striking the northwestern enclave's Mount Bafilun, the villages of Sheik Huruz and Kefer Jenne, and the regions of Sheran, Jinderes and Raju, among other targets.

World powers failed to back an appeal by United Nations officials for a month-long ceasefire to allow for desperately needed aid deliveries and medical evacuations. It was not immediately clear when or if Sweden and Kuwait would put the draft resolution to a vote.

Zamir Kabulov, the Kremlin's envoy for Afghanistan and the former Russian ambassador in Kabul, made the claim in an interview Thursday with state news agency Tass. "We are at war", Erdoğan added.

In Eastern Ghouta, the surge in attacks has coincided with the sharp rise in violence in Idlib. "Eastern Ghouta is experiencing a Middle Ages-style siege".

Washington, however, continues to manipulate its "partners" to maintain a stronghold in Syria, and even mulled creating a 30,000-strong Kurdish dominant border force to secure control of Syria's north.

It said the assault reflects the "dirty US intentions against Syria's sovereignty and territorial unity".

Ford was the last US ambassador to Syria and now teaches at Yale University and is a fellow at the Middle East Institute.

In Damascus, the official SANA news agency said the local fighters were battling militants from the so-called Islamic State and the US -backed SDF in the area.

Syrian government warplanes have ratcheted up their bombardment of Eastern Ghouta this week, leaving dozens dead and hundreds in need of medical care.

"This past week has been one of the bloodiest periods of the entire conflict, with wave after wave of deadly airstrikes leading to civilian casualties", UN Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in an official statement.

Western powers have expressed alarm over the government's campaign against Eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 people have been besieged since 2013, facing severe food and medicine shortages.

That brought the civilian death toll since Monday to almost 230.

The Russian military says a USA strike on government-backed troops in eastern Syria reflects Washington's efforts to make a grab for the nation's economic assets. On Friday, the military said one soldier was killed during clashes with the YPG the Afrin region.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday the US strike wounded 25 pro-government Syrian volunteers.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom -based monitoring group, 59 civilians, including 15 children, have been killed on Thursday alone in eastern Ghouta. Seven Turkish civilians have also lost their lives.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said two Turkish military personnel were killed when a helicopter was downed during Ankara's military offensive against a Kurdish militia in northern Syria .

Turkish jets on February 11 destroyed targets in northwestern Syria within the range of the southern Turkish border district of Hatay.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists. A stronghold of Islamic State militants until late past year, the province also was the group's main source of oil revenue.

SANA called it an "aggression".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected the recent statement by the head of Turkey's Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, regarding a potential meeting between Ankara and Damascus, Al-Masdar News says. It is also unclear where the incident took place.

It also heralded the violent end of a "de-escalation" agreement, brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey, to reduce violence in Syria and prepare the ground for peace talks.

"What is happening in eastern Ghouta is not simply a humanitarian crisis because aid is denied".

Turkey bombs Kurdish city of Afrin