Forces loyal to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad reportedly have retaken more than half of Eastern Ghouta, the last rebel-held enclave near the capital Damascus. Regime-backed forces, under the cover of Russian air strikes, have been bombarding the besieged area for over two weeks, killing an estimated 850 civilians and injuring thousands more, in one of the fiercest assaults in the seven-years-long war. Amid a growing international outcry, the United Nations Security Council gathered Wednesday to discuss the failure to implement a resolution it passed on February 24 demanding a 30-day ceasefire. Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, accused the Syrian government of failing to protect the 400,000-odd citizens that remain trapped in the territory, whom he stressed are facing an “apocalypse intended, planned and executed by individuals within the government, apparently with the full backing of some of their foreign supporters.” Al Hussein concluded by calling for Assad to be referred to the International Criminal Court.
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