France Calls For Opening Of Humanitarian Corridors In Syria

The United States threw its support behind a United Nations plea for a ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta.

In Damascus, shelling of the old city quarter by rebel factions in eastern Ghouta killed two civilians and damaged houses and properties.

Rescue teams rushed to Jisreen and pulled three children and a woman out of the rubble.

In a statement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the parties involved in the ongoing conflict to move toward a political solution, which he says is the "only way to end the violence and the bad suffering of the Syrian people". They said they had tracked at least 76 airstrikes on Tuesday and Wednesday alone in the region.

Located in the outskirt of the capital Damascus, Eastern Ghouta was declared a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are forbidden.

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The agency described the strikes as being an act of "aggression".

The overnight attack, which a US military official earlier said killed about 100 of the attackers, added another layer to the Syrian conflict that is once again plunging into a new and unpredictable spiral of violence. "We would like to see a ceasefire, the end of the war, but the terrorists, I am not sure, are in agreement", he said.

In a statement attributable to his spokesperson, Guterres stressed that "all concerned in Syria and the region have a responsibility and must abide by global law and relevant Security Council resolutions".

France demanded an end to air strikes in Syria on Friday as warplanes mounted further attacks on a rebel stronghold near Damascus where a war monitor said government bombardments have killed 229 people, the deadliest week in the area since 2015.

The official state news agency SANA reported on Thursday that the overnight attack hit tribal fighters in Khusham, a town in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.

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The neighborhood has been surrounded by Syrian forces for more than four years, with the siege intensifying in May when regime troops, backed by Iran and Russian Federation, conducted a large-scale offensive. The state Al-Ikhbariyah TV said there were reports that dozens were killed.

Unconfirmed Turkish media reports had Turkey had halted flights after Russia, which effectively controls the skies over the region, had closed the airspace over Afrin, following the February 3 downing of a Russian jet in northern Idlib province.

It was not immediately clear when the Istanbul meeting would take place.

Eastern Ghouta was one of several so-called de-escalation zones agreed previous year by three of the main outside players in the conflict - Turkey, Iran and Russian Federation.

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