UN Rejects Appeal For Monthlong Syria Cease-Fire Opposed By Russia

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Turkey has detained hundreds of people in the past two weeks for allegedly engaging in terrorist propaganda for speaking out against the Turkish military offensive against the enclave of Afrin aimed at rooting out Syrian Kurdish militia.

Eastern Ghouta, a suburban area only miles from Damascus, has been surrounded by Syrian forces for more than four years.

The US-led coalition on Thursday said it hit forces allied to the Damascus regime in eastern Syria and that at least 100 pro-regime fighters were killed.

Civil Defense volunteers search for survivors in Idlib city on February 6.

Bombardment intensified after rebels reportedly shot down a Russian warplane over rural Idlib province on Saturday. As the US tries to keep the focus on the fight against ISIS - which has been routed out of its former Syrian strongholds - tensions are growing between Kurdish and Turkish forces, both of which are allied with the Americans.

Almost 200 people have died in four days of intense bombardment in the area, whose 400,000 residents have been besieged since 2013.

"The threat of using chemical weapons remains, this is a very serious situation".

A search for survivors amid the rubble was under way on Wednesday by members of Syria's Civil Defensive unit. They include 58 children and 43 women, the UK-based group said. The highest toll was in the town of Jisreen, where eight civilians were killed.

Eastern Ghouta was designated as one of several "de-escalation zones" by backers of the Syrian government - Russian Federation and Iran - as well as Turkey who oppose the government. But it has not been implemented.

Eastern Ghouta is home to an estimated 400,000 people who have lived under crippling government siege since 2013.

Even hospitals and clinics, already suffering from a lack of medical supplies, have not been spared the violence.

Between 2006-2012 Iran was able to transfer to Hezbollah 130,000 rockets, he said, describing it as a "strategic failure" by Israel.

"It is mass killing, and we demand the protection of civilians, and we want our voice to reach decision-makers, because this bombing, destruction and killing are systematic", the doctor said. "It was hit by the planes".

Many believe pro-government forces are pushing for a decisive outcome.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces have gained ground in the southern edges of Idlib in recent weeks.

According to United Nations statistics, some 13.1 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid, including 6.1 million who have been displaced within the country during the civil war, which began in 2011 with a government crackdown against pro-democracy protesters.

Veale said they suspect the Syrian pro-government forces were trying to seize terrain from the USA -backed forces liberated from IS militants past year, including major oil fields in the area.