The number of deaths in the rebel-held Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta has crossed 1,000 within three weeks, a British human rights monitor said on Sunday. The toll is now 1,099, apart from nearly 4,400 injured, as attacks by “hundreds of” raids, barrels, shells and missiles continued in the region on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The country’s Army intensified its attacks on Saturday, which the British organisation claimed had cut off two large towns from rest of the region. A spokesman for the rebel forces, however, denied that the towns – Hasrata and Douma – had been cut off, Reuters reported.
Syria on Saturday denied charges that it used chlorine gas in its attacks in Eastern Ghouta. Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the United States had made up the accusations to support rebels. Doctors had on Tuesday reported a suspected chemical attack and said they were treating people with breathing problems. Rescue workers and Opposition activists claimed the same later.
Out of the 1,099 deaths in the last 21 days, 567 have come after the United Nations Security Council, on February 24, approved a month-long ceasefire across Syria. The UN resolution had approved the ceasefire so humanitarian aid could reach people in the conflict zone.
The Syrian government had started the offensive in February to re-capture Eastern Ghouta, purportedly to end the shelling of Damascus by rebels. France and the United States had urged Russia, a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad, on March 1 to exert pressure on Syria to implement the ceasefire.
Important roads came directly under the Army’s control after the capture of the town of Mesraba on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. State media showed a large group of civilians hiding inside a house in Mesraba and people across the region taking shelter in basements amid the regime attacks. Around 4 lakh people are trapped in eastern Ghouta, the United Nations has estimated.