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Kremlin rejects accusations of Russian forces’ role in civilian deaths in Eastern Ghouta

February 21, 16:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The US State Department spokesperson earlier called to stop violence in Eastern Ghouta and accused the Syrian and Russian authorities of being responsible for the events in that area

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© EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED BADRA

MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has rejected the accusations that Russian forces could have been behind civilian deaths in Eastern Ghouta, a Damascus suburb.

"These are unfounded accusations. It’s unclear what they are based on. No particular data has been provided and we assess these accusations in this way. We disagree with them," Peskov told reporters.

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday called to stop violence in Eastern Ghouta and create conditions to evacuate those injured. She accused the Syrian and Russian authorities of being responsible for the events in that area.

"We call on all parties to commit to the unconditional de-escalation of violence. Russia must end its support of the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime and its allies," Nauert said, stressing that "they are responsible for the attacks" in Eastern Ghouta.

According to UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, "nearly 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta have been subjected to airstrikes, shelling and bombardment." About 100 people were killed in the besieged area since Monday, including at least 13 children. Five hospitals or medical clinics in the area were hit by airstrikes in the reported period. Over 700 individuals require immediate medical evacuation. Meanwhile, there were also reports of shelling from Eastern Ghouta on Damascus.

Eastern Ghouta, which is controlled by militants and is under siege by the government forces, is among the de-escalation zones established on May 4, 2017 by three states guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire - Russia, Iran and Turkey. The UN has repeatedly expressed its concerns by the situation in the region and urged to ensure humanitarian access to the area.

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