BREAKING NEWS : FBI preparing for protests in Indianapolis Full Story
BREAKING NEWS : Firefighters battle fire at auto salvage yard near New Haven Full Story

More airstrikes after U.N. vote on Syria

Regime warplanes struck the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus Saturday shortly after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria, the UK- based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said in a statement. According to an MSF report, the death toll in Ghouta had reached more than 520 on Saturday evening, with 2,500 wounded.

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 11:07 AM
Updated: Feb 27, 2018 11:26 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered a daily five-hour pause in hostilities in the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, amid reports of chlorine gas attacks.

Putin ordered the humanitarian pause -- from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time -- to start Tuesday, in a bid to prevent civilian casualties, according to state-run news agency Tass.

The report said a humanitarian corridor would be opened to allow civilians to leave.

Russia is the Syrian regime's key ally in a civil war that has plagued the country for almost seven years, with heavy fighting now focused on the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

Russian intervention -- with troops and weaponry -- has helped tilt the balance in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's favor.

A United Nations resolution on Saturday calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria appears to have done little to halt the intense bombardment of Eastern Ghouta, which has now entered its second week.

Several people in the suburb were treated for exposure to chlorine gas, opposition groups said, as airstrikes and artillery fire from the regime continued on Sunday.

The Syrian opposition-run Rural Damascus Health Directorate said the people were admitted to medical facilities showing signs that were consistent with exposure to "toxic chlorine gas."

In a statement, RDHD said that: "The smell of people in the area, ambulance drivers, and victims all had the clear and known smell of chlorine gas."

A tweet from the Syrian American Medical Society said that 16 patients, including six children, were treated in a hospital "suffering from symptoms indicative to exposure to chemical compounds." Images obtained by CNN show men and children receiving treatment, some of them using oxygen masks.

The White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group, said in a tweet that one child was killed in a chlorine gas attack in the city.

CNN is unable to independently verify claims that chlorine was used as a weapon in Eastern Ghouta.

Both sides of the conflict have in the past accused one another of the use of chlorine as a weapon, and the government has repeatedly denied claims that it has done so.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters that allegations of a chlorine attack were a "hoax," and attacked the White Helmets for promoting what he described as "fake stories."

The Russian Defense Ministry alleged that "terrorists" hiding in Eastern Ghouta have chemical substances which "might be used for provocations."

'Nothing has changed'

The alleged chlorine attack comes despite a 30-day ceasefire that was supposed to have been implemented "without delay."

"Nothing has changed," said Dr Hamza Hassan from Arbeen Hospital in the besieged Damascus suburb. "The airstrikes are continuing. A maternity hospital has just been hit in Saqba (a town in Eastern Ghouta) and is out of service," he told CNN on Sunday morning.

Panos Moumtzis, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the area, told CNN: "We have reports at least seven people were killed this morning" after the UN Security Council adopted the resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria on Saturday.

For the first time in this latest offensive that began February 18, ground attacks were combined with aerial bombardment, pummeling the rebel-held enclave near the Syrian capital.

The Syrian regime has said that it is targeting terrorists in Eastern Ghouta and that it would continue to pursue terrorist targets even with the ceasefire in place.

"We practice a sovereign right of self-defense, and we will continue to fight terrorism wherever it is found on Syrian soil," Syrian UN ambassador Bashar Ja'afri said according to Syrian state-run media SANA.

Terrorist groups not included

The UN ceasefire resolution, which passed unanimously on Saturday, noted that the "cessation of hostilities shall not apply to military operations against the Islamic State," al Nusra and other groups associated with them, or groups deemed terrorist organizations by the UN Security Council.

The main rebel units actively holding territory in Eastern Ghouta are Islamist groups Jaish al Islam and Faylaq al Rahman, who have taken part in peace negotiations in the past. According to activists there are small pockets of Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, an al-Qaeda affiliate, still in the area.

But the ceasefire had no specific beginning, only that it was to come into effect "without delay." There was no deadline for setting a date for it to begin. And there was no detail on how the truce, once in effect, would be enforced.

Both the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and SANA reported that shells hit regime-controlled areas in Damascus on Saturday morning. "Armed groups positioned in Eastern Ghouta on Saturday targeted with more than 55 mortar and rocket shells with sniper fire the residential neighborhoods in Damascus and its countryside, injuring a number of civilians and causing material damage," SANA said.

SANA reported that 21 rocket shells were fired on residential neighborhoods in Damascus City and other areas in the capital.

'Deeply skeptical'

Speaking to reporters, Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said the process of forming the resolution was "extensive and exhaustive" in order to ensure that "it was meaningful."

"Because by decrees of the Security Council, you cannot install a ceasefire, (a) ceasefire is reached by laborious and painstaking process on the ground," said Nebenzia.

However, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley rejected Nebenzia's claims.

"In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution, how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and shelling? How many more images did we need to see of fathers holding their dead children? All for nothing, because here we are voting for a ceasefire that could have saved lives days ago," said Haley in remarks made after the ceasefire resolution was adopted on Saturday.

"Our goal with this resolution is clear: The Assad regime needs to stop its military activities around Eastern Ghouta, and for once, allow humanitarian access to all of those who need it," said Haley, adding that she was unconvinced the Syrian regime would honor the ceasefire.

"We are deeply skeptical that the regime will comply. But we supported this resolution because we must demand nothing less. We owe this to the innocent people of Syria begging for help."

In his remarks to the UN Security Council, Nebenzia compared the outcry from the international community over events in Eastern Ghouta to that surrounding the retaking of eastern Aleppo in December 2016.

"We know that the humanitarian situation in Syria is dire and requires urgent measures to be taken," he said. "However we see perfectly that the propagandistic scenarios which are being unraveled around Eastern Ghouta are in line fully with the campaign, the vociferous campaign in late 2016 during the counterterrorist operation to liberate eastern Aleppo."

The airstrikes and artillery fire have concentrated on the outskirts of Eastern Ghouta, according to activists inside the city. more than 520 people have been killed and 2,500 wounded since the bombardment of Eastern Ghouta began on Sunday February 18.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 578494

Reported Deaths: 9202
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion798821282
Lake43601664
Allen31380537
Hamilton27675303
St. Joseph26409369
Elkhart23873336
Vanderburgh18192211
Tippecanoe16999116
Porter14183158
Johnson14120277
Hendricks13560236
Madison10312209
Vigo10297171
Clark9952128
Monroe8933105
Delaware8638129
LaPorte8589153
Kosciusko777375
Howard7712136
Warrick624990
Hancock621995
Bartholomew616094
Floyd5971105
Wayne5811155
Grant5716108
Dubois533570
Boone523167
Morgan501485
Marshall487084
Henry483262
Cass464959
Noble453956
Dearborn443343
Jackson410145
Shelby394376
Lawrence374172
Clinton359838
Gibson348556
DeKalb333063
Montgomery329150
Knox323339
Harrison317242
Miami305043
Steuben300740
Adams291635
Ripley287145
Wabash286345
Whitley286324
Huntington278757
Putnam278046
Jasper274933
White262038
Daviess255671
Jefferson242738
Fayette239248
Decatur237382
Greene229259
Posey225626
Wells225146
LaGrange222061
Scott212837
Clay212432
Randolph204940
Jennings188635
Sullivan185831
Spencer176917
Fountain175125
Washington170216
Starke169241
Jay160521
Fulton156829
Owen155536
Carroll150115
Orange146333
Rush145618
Vermillion141633
Perry141327
Franklin139333
Parke12718
Tipton126232
Pike111325
Blackford105122
Pulaski93636
Newton87820
Brown84428
Benton83010
Crawford7229
Martin68013
Warren6427
Switzerland6035
Union6033
Ohio4547
Unassigned0372

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 807293

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin95508704
Cuyahoga80262964
Hamilton59783436
Montgomery40858396
Summit32488697
Lucas29495575
Butler29100225
Stark24048388
Warren18471135
Lorain17563207
Mahoning16430334
Lake14941134
Clermont14703103
Delaware1349574
Licking12353132
Trumbull12096297
Fairfield1184280
Greene11338132
Medina10815164
Clark10334261
Wood9742153
Allen9355126
Miami867373
Portage8628104
Richland8604111
Marion7231112
Tuscarawas6987172
Columbiana6922124
Pickaway689050
Wayne6599162
Muskingum648939
Erie5729117
Hancock529088
Ross518287
Scioto508753
Geauga469955
Darke450589
Ashtabula431467
Union422327
Mercer419485
Lawrence417051
Sandusky413262
Auglaize407059
Shelby404621
Seneca404354
Huron399738
Jefferson391565
Belmont378140
Putnam359370
Washington357039
Athens35469
Madison331128
Knox329022
Ashland322538
Fulton319043
Defiance311476
Crawford306769
Preble306434
Brown289617
Logan284828
Ottawa275534
Clinton272741
Williams265757
Highland255618
Jackson250743
Guernsey234625
Champaign233727
Fayette218929
Morrow21754
Holmes215562
Perry215317
Henry206147
Hardin200932
Coshocton194517
Van Wert193744
Wyandot186948
Gallia186226
Adams160815
Pike160116
Hocking157423
Carroll143216
Paulding137521
Noble116138
Meigs99021
Monroe93827
Harrison8428
Morgan75826
Vinton64013
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 30°
Angola
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 30°
Huntington
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 30°
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 30°
Lima
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 30°
Light Snow Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events