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Escalating attacks in Syria call UN, U.S. response into question

Affected children receive medical treatment after Assad regime forces conduct allegedly poisonous gas attack in Eastern Ghouta on March 7.
Children receive medical treatment after after alleged poisonous gas attack in Eastern Ghouta on March 7, 2018. Photo: Dia Al Din Samout / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The rapidly deteriorating situation in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus besieged since 2013 by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, now resembles Aleppo's in 2016.

Not only is the Assad regime continuing to violate the UN-brokered ceasefire, it is reportedly escalating its attacks by deploying chlorine gas and incendiary weapons such as napalm and phosphorus. Russian and Syrian government forces have also targeted at least 25 medical facilities since February.

Why it matters: As the UN and U.S. stand by, the humanitarian crisis on the ground is worsening. At least 5,000 people have been injured and 900 killed in the last two weeks, with the conflict's death toll now surpassing 500,000.