UN investigating reports of chlorine attacks in Syria

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"Look, when I saw that Russia's placing military forces, air power, some ground power, and anti-aircraft weapons in Syria, I decided that the wisest thing to do was to go and speak to Mr. Putin directly", Netanyahu said prior to his snap visit to Moscow. In January chlorine is suspected of having been used on two occasions in munitions launched by the regime in the region.

The watchdog has been tasked with establishing "the facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals", noting "grave concern" over at least two reports of chlorine being used by the regime this week.

The U.N. Syria Commission condemned the recent attacks - some reports say there have been at least six chlorine chemical attacks within the past 30 days.

Syrian government forces have been on the offensive in Idlib in recent weeks but the push intensified after militants shot down a Russian Su-25 fighter jet near the town of Saraqeb over the weekend.

"Our air defence systems responded to missiles fired by the Israeli enemy air force from over Lebanese territory on a military outpost in Damascus countryside and destroyed a lot of them", an army statement said.

Syrian state media said early on Wednesday that Syrian air defenses had responded to what it described as "a new Israeli aggression" in the countryside around Damascus.

"Our air defence systems blocked them and destroyed majority". The target was supposedly a research facility west of Damascus.

"The ongoing military operations" and "the reported blockage of exits" has "trapped many civilians" in Afrin, preventing them from moving to safer areas, the United Nations statement explained. About 100 of the attackers were killed, the official said.

A Syrian man searches for people in a fire following regime air strikes on the rebel-held town of Douma
A Syrian man searches for people in a fire following regime air strikes on the rebel-held town of Douma

Using an alternative acronym for IS, the coalition said it then "conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged in the Global Coalition's defeat-Daesh mission".

The United Nations in Syria on Tuesday called for a one-month ceasefire in the country to allow the delivery of desperately needed supplies and medical care to civilians caught up in fighting, Deutsche Welle reported.

The U.S. and Russian Federation have been lashing out at each other for months over the issue of accountability for chemical attacks in Syria, which is a close ally of Moscow.

The de-escalation zones, according to Moumtzis, were not doing enough to stem the violence.

In Idleb, the military operations resulted in increased casualties and movement of civilians to safer areas. "If anything, these have been serious escalation areas", he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Syria is in the final stages of a battle against Takfiri terrorist groups, which poured into the Arab country after the outbreak of a civil war in 2011. "It's the first time - between Eastern Ghouta, Idlib, Afrin - we have multiple fronts with people in extreme danger without a view to a solution".

The Turkish-Banjul diplomacy chief noted that these terrorist elements should be wiped out from these border territories because they are not only killing innocent people in Syria, but also displacements of civilians.

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