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Political leaders in France, the United States and United Kingdom said this month they would back targeted military action against Damascus if there were proof chemical weapons had been used by forces under President Bashar al-Assad. The investigation by the OPCW fact-finding team comes as Syrian warplanes continued to strike eastern Ghouta on Tuesday, despite a Russian call for a five-hour daily truce to allow the , people living there under siege to leave.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss the operation in public.

Dozens killed in suspected chemical attack on Syrian rebel enclave | World news | The Guardian

Use of chlorine as a chemical weapons is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention. If inhaled, chlorine gas turns into hydrochloric acid in the lungs and the build-up of fluids can drown victims.

Expert: Video proves Syria's chemical weapons use

The latest OPCW mission is seeking to determine whether chemical weapons were used in violation of the international weapons convention, which Syria signed in after hundreds died in a massive sarin gas attack in Ghouta. Attacks from Eastern Ghouta have also occurred regularly over the past few years, and have also increased in recent months killing several people in residential areas of Damascus. Despite a ceasefire agreement passed on Feb.

Since mid-February, more 1, people have been killed and over 5, injured by aerial and artillery attacks. Food, fuel, and medical supplies are running perilously low.

As Trump Seeks Way Out of Syria, New Attack Pulls Him Back In

The people of Eastern Ghouta are terrified. They are sheltering for their lives in basements and makeshift dugouts as the attacks intensify. Thousands have fled their homes in recent weeks but there is nowhere safe for them to run to. Fear and anxiety because we might be targeted. Civilians are being killed indiscriminately-—and medical facilities where the wounded seek treatment are being attacked.

A health worker and six patients died when one IRC-supported partner hospital came under attack on Feb. The hospital had treated 50 wounded people that day before damage to the building and medical equipment put it out of commission. A nurse from another hospital supported by the IRC was killed when a bomb struck her home. More than 1, people in Eastern Ghouta are in need of urgent medical evacuation.

Eastern Ghouta: What happened and why

The first convoy with critical aid for 27, people entered the enclave on March 5 as bombs were falling. But the fighting became so intense, it had to leave before completing the distribution.

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Patients with kidney failure receive treatment at a hospital in Eastern Ghouta. There are currently people in need of urgent medical evacuation.

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Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March , when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. While UN officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10, Europe Italy condemns Syrian regime's attacks on E. Ghouta Italy's Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano expresses 'deep concern over the deterioration of the situation in Syria' Ammar Al-Bushy - Anadolu Agency.

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