-Foreign Ministry spokesman says chemicals used in increasing regime attacks on besieged suburb of Damascus
By Dildar Baykan
ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said increasing regime attacks in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta is “alarming”.
According to a statement, the Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said, “On Feb. 6 alone, over 100 have lost their lives in the airstrikes.”
“On the other hand, it is reported that the regime used chemical weapons containing chlorine gas in the region,” Aksoy said.
He went on to say, “Indeed, the chairman of The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syria announced on Feb. 6 that the commission had begun investigating these allegations on suspicion that bombs containing chlorine gas were being used in East Ghouta and also in Idilib’s Sarakib district.”
Aksoy said Turkey “constantly expresses” its worries on the issue that violates human rights and the “spirit of Astana” at all levels of contact with guarantor countries Russia and Iran.
Located in northern Syria near the Turkish border, Idlib was declared a de-escalation zone, according to a cease-fire agreement last May reached in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.
The Syrian regime, however, has repeatedly violated the deal and has targeted residential areas in opposition-held, no-tension zones like Idlib.
Controlled by anti-regime armed groups, the province has been under intense airstrikes for the past two months. In January alone, 211 civilians were killed and 1,447 wounded.
Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
While UN officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10,000.