Syria war: Wounded 'to be evacuated from Eastern Ghouta' - rebels

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The Assad regime signed a Russian-brokered deal to give up its arsenal of chemical weapons to avert USA air strikes after a nerve gas attack killed hundreds of people in 2013.

The US ambassador recalled that President Donald Trump had ordered missile strikes on a Syrian air base in April past year in retaliation for a sarin gas attack blamed on President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Last year, the United States again accused Damascus of using nerve gas and launched air strikes.

Such deals, in which the choice is usually to accept state rule or leave, have helped Assad's military claw back control of major cities, with support from Russian Federation and Iran. "There's an terrible lot of reports about chlorine gas use or about symptoms that could be resulting from chlorine gas", Mattis said. "I don't know which it is, whether they're incompetent or whether they're committing illegal acts or both".

As the Syrian army pushes deeper into Eastern Ghouta under cover of a hammering bombardment, the 400,000 civilians the United Nations says live in the enclave have been crowded in dark basements to cower from the ceaseless bombing.

Vasily Nebenzya said that the Nusra Front* militants used chemical weapons in East Ghouta, injuring 30 civilians.

Hundreds of people have been killed in a ferocious air and artillery bombardment of the eastern Ghouta district since February 18 as the Syrian government seeks to crush the last major rebel stronghold near the capital Damascus.

Worries are growing in Jordan and Western powers that the Syrian army, backed by Moscow and Iranian-backed militias, will press on with a major assault to regain the south if it retakes Eastern Ghouta, two senior Western diplomats said. But the United States directly accused Russian Federation of killing civilians.

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Syria's deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad denied opposition charges that government forces used poisonous gas in their attacks on some suburbs of Damascus.

"We have drafted a new ceasefire resolution that provides no room for evasion", United States ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in reference to Syrian army's operation against the terrorists in East Ghouta that keep launching attacks on Damascus despite the ongoing ceasefire.

"I get paid to make strategic assessments", Mattis said. Oman has long-standing commercial and political ties to Iran, an Omani neighbor and US nemesis.

While ostensibly a member of the Saudi-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council, Oman has struck out on its own diplomatic path in the region.

The July 7 truce - the first USA peacekeeping effort of the war under President Donald Trump - was expanded last November in the southwestern triangle bordering Israel and Jordan.

The U.S. State Department said on Monday it was concerned by the violence and called an "urgent meeting" in Jordan to ensure maintenance of the de-escalation zone.

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