U.N. demands Syria ceasefire as air strikes pound rebel areas

The United Nations called on Tuesday for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Syria of at least a month, as heavy air strikes were reported to have killed scores of people in the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus.Separately, U.N. war crimes experts said they were investigating several reports of bombs allegedly containing chlorine gas being used against civilians in the rebel-held towns of Saraqeb in the northwestern province of Idlib and Douma in the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus.The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday’s bombardment of Eastern Ghouta had killed 63 people. A local official, Khalil Aybour, put the toll at 53.On Monday, air strikes killed 30 people in Eastern Ghouta, the Observatory said.“Today there is no safe area at all. This is a key point people should know: there is no safe space,” Siraj Mahmoud, the head of the Civil Defence rescue service in opposition-held rural Damascus, told Reuters.“Right now, we have people under rubble, the targeting is ongoing, warplanes on residential neighborhoods.”Insurgent shelling of government-held Damascus killed three people, the Observatory and Syrian state media reported.


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