France anxious chlorine bombs were used in Syria

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The incident underscores the potential for further conflict in Syria's oil-rich east, where the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias holds swathes of land after its offensive against Islamic State.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched "Operation Olive Branch" to clear YPG militants from Afrin in northwestern Syria.

The draft United Nations resolution, seen by Reuters, also "calls upon all parties to immediately lift the sieges of populated areas, including in Eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya".

Rex Tillerson, US secretary of state, is also due to visit Ankara next week as part of a trip to five countries in the Middle East.

Russian Federation continues to deny having a role in the attacks.

A punishing campaign by the Syrian government and Russian Federation has battered the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus and the northwestern province of Idlib as President Bashar Assad's government tries to bring them under control. On Friday, the military said one soldier was killed during clashes with the YPG the Afrin region. She says the goal is to allow humanitarian aid and medical care to flow to more than 700 civilians in eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said 59 civilians, including 15 children, had been killed on Thursday alone in eastern Ghouta, an enclave that has been under siege for years, endured a devastating sarin gas attack in 2013 and was once the bread basket of the nearby capital, Damascus.

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The fighters belonged to the Syrian Kurdish armed group YPG and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group, according to the army. Calling for "urgent worldwide action" to protect civilians, Zeid also slammed what he called an "epic failure of global diplomacy" to end the seven-year-old war.

Aid workers there say several hospitals have been bombed, some a couple of times in a largely successful effort to put them out of service and deter civilians from using them.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to hear a briefing on Thursday and then hold closed-door consultations on the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria and calls for a 30-day cease fire.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty. Two of them were aboard a Turkish attack helicopter that crashed while on a mission over Afrin.

Regime bombing raids left 38 civilians dead on Wednesday, the Observatory said in a new toll. After two days of discussions, the congress, brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey, reaffirmed its full commitment to the "sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity" of Syria.

US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday amid persistent tensions between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over Syria and other issues.

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