UN decries ‘apocalypse’ in Syria

DOUMA, Syria: Syria’s government sent reinforcements to Eastern Ghouta on Wednesday, tightening the noose around the shrinking rebel enclave as the UN Security Council met to discuss the escalating violence.
The blistering onslaught has prompted outrage against the government, with the United Nations’ human rights chief accusing the government of orchestrating an “apocalypse” in Syria.
The Russia-backed Syrian army and allied militia began a campaign on February 18 to retake the last opposition bastion near Damascus with devastating aerial bombing.
They launched a ground offensive a week later and have since taken more than 40 per cent of the enclave in an assault that has killed more than 800 civilians.
Heavy air strikes battered several key towns in the zone on Wednesday, as Syria’s government dispatched hundreds of pro-government militiamen to the front.
“At least 700 militiamen came from Aleppo and were sent late on Tuesday to Ghouta,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Britain-based war monitor said the reinforcements were deployed to two battlefronts on the western side of the enclave.
Government troops in military vehicles were seen on Wednesday patrolling Al Mohammadiyeh, an agricultural zone in the southern part of Ghouta recently retaken by the government.
Across some green farmland, columns of thick smoke rose from an urban skyline. SEE ALSO P7