Assad forces killed 85 civilians in Eastern Ghouta: UN

Updated 10 January 2018
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Assad forces killed 85 civilians in Eastern Ghouta: UN

GENEVA: Syrian regime forces and their allies have killed at least 85 civilians since Dec. 31 in stepped-up attacks against the besieged opposition enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the UN human rights chief said on Wednesday.
Conditions in the enclave, the last major rebel-held zone near Damascus and where at least 390,000 civilians have been besieged for four years, amount to a humanitarian catastrophe, Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein said.
“Residential areas are being hit day and night by strikes from the ground and from the air, forcing civilians to hide in basements,” he said in a statement.
The UN official said warring parties were obliged by law to distinguish between civilians and lawful military targets, and reports from Eastern Ghouta suggested of the attackers were flouting those principles, “raising concerns that war crimes may have been committed.”
Among the dead civilians were 21 women and 30 children, Al-Hussein said.
Backed by Russian strikes, Syrian regime forces have escalated military operations against Eastern Ghouta in recent months. Russia rejects accusations that its jets have been targeting civilians.
The UN rights chief said failure to evacuate urgent medical cases from the enclave was also against the international humanitarian law.
Armed opposition groups holed up in Eastern Ghouta had also continued to fire rockets into residential areas of Damascus, which he said caused terror among the population.
A rocket landed near a bakery in Old Damascus on Jan. 4, killing a woman and injuring 13 other civilians, he said.


Libya seeks UN help as militia fighting kills 10

Updated 23 September 2018
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Libya seeks UN help as militia fighting kills 10

  • Libya’s internationally recognized government has called on the UN to take “concrete and effective” action to protect civilians and halt the fighting.

BENGHAZI: The latest bout of fighting between rival militias in the capital Tripoli has left 10 people dead.

The medical authorities said 59 people were also wounded when fighting erupted the previous day, taking the death toll to 106 since armed conflict first began there late last month. Friday’s fighting further strained a cease-fire that has been in force since Sept. 4. They said a total of 18 people remain missing.

Libya’s internationally recognized government has called on the UN to take “concrete and effective” action to protect civilians and halt the fighting. The Government of National Accord (GNA) called on the UN mission to “present the Security Council with the reality of the bloody events in Libya so that it can ... protect the lives and property of civilians”.

Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that overthrew longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi and led to his death. It’s governed by rival authorities, based in Tripoli and the country’s east, each backed by an array of militias.