With IS down but not out, Syria's war escalates on multiple fronts


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.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert called out Russian Federation on Thursday for enabling the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons on civilians.

Strikes by Syrian government jets on a besieged rebel stronghold near the capital Damascus on Thursday killed at least 60 civilians, a war monitor reported. I don't think we can fix the Russian and Syrian government brutality problem.

Tuesday's toll of 80 dead was "the highest civilian toll in Syria in almost nine months, and one of the bloodiest days for Eastern Ghouta in several years", Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. It came on the heels of the bloodiest day in months for Eastern Ghouta on Tuesday, when 80 civilians were killed in strikes.

The Pentagon said coalition advisers had been with SDF forces when the base was attacked 8 kilometers east of the Euphrates River deconfliction line in Deir al-Zor Province. Rescue teams rushed to the district and pulled three children and a woman out of the rubble.

"Yesterday, we destroyed quite a large amount of missile depots, which is of course driving them [the People's Protection Units (YPG)] insane".

"With the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation fully controlling the skies over Afghanistan, there is every reason to believe they had a hand in that, or at least, did not hamper these flights, despite the fact that Washington and Brussels deny that", Kabulov said.

At least 136 civilians have been killed in the last 48 hours as government forces from Russian Federation and Syria conducted an intensified bombardment of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the capital Damascus.

It is estimated that 400,000 people are trapped in Eastern Ghouta, and its people suffer severe shortages of food, fuel, and medicines.

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According to official SANA news agency, the Syrian army continued its operations against Daesh in the isolated pockets in Hama, Aleppo, and Idlb, culminating in regaining control of 29 villages and towns.

Meanwhile, the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Thursday reported that it had struck pro-Assad forces following "an unprovoked attack", a rare instance of the U.S. attacking the regime, which is supported by Moscow. A major offense was launched in December by the Syrian army to seize Idlib province, the last rebel-held territory.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the accusations.

Russian Federation on February 8 opposed the call for the cease-fire requested by Kuwait and Sweden and supported by the United States and France, calling it unrealistic.

Damascus has repeatedly said it targets only militants.

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.

Violence also flared in eastern Syria on Thursday, where the US-led coalition said it had killed at least 100 pro-regime fighters to fend off an attack on its Kurdish allies.

"This fighting is absolutely unacceptable, " she added.

The UN Security Council on Thursday failed to back a UN appeal for a month-long humanitarian ceasefire in Syria.