“We see the Assad regime continue to bomb, starve, and, yes, gas civilians,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Valentine’s Day, adding that for the Geneva process to work, Russia must pressure Assad to change his behavior.
Destruction in Eastern Ghouta
“Aerial bombardment and artillery attacks are claiming the lives of innocent men, women and children. Shortages of food, water, medicine and other items have driven people to the brink of endurance,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley told media. As the opposition’s last bastion at the edge of Damascus, Eastern Ghouta has been cut off from the world. Even United Nations aid convoys visit rarely. The international powers involved in other parts of Syria have little strategic interest in a suburb with fewer than 350,000 people and no international borders. The suburb was a 20-minute drive from central Damascus. “Humanitarian diplomacy has failed so far. We’re talking to deaf ears,” said Panos Moumtzis, the U.N.’s regional coordinator. The Syrian government insists that its attacks have targeted rebel forces that use artillery to hit districts under state control. However residents, civil defense workers and medical staff said government bombs routinely have targeted areas densely populated with civilians.