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Syria slams UN envoy for criticism of air strikes

Syrians walk amid the rubble following air strikes by Syrian government forces on a marketplace in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, on August 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Sameer al-Doumy)

Syrians walk amid the rubble following air strikes by Syrian government forces on a marketplace in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, on August 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Sameer al-Doumy)

Syria’s government on Tuesday slammed United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura for his criticism of regime air raids that killed nearly 100 people in a rebel-held town.

“In his recent comments Staffan de Mistura has strayed from neutrality,” Syrian state media said, citing a source at the foreign ministry.

The source accused de Mistura of “making statements that lack objectivity and facts and rely on what is promoted in circles known for their hostility to Syria.”

The criticism came after de Mistura said government strikes that killed nearly 100 people in the rebel-held town of Douma on Sunday were “unacceptable.”

“The government’s bombing of (Douma) yesterday is devastating,” de Mistura said on Monday.

“Hitting crowded civilian markets killing almost one hundred of its own citizens by a government is unacceptable in any circumstances.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said at least 96 people were killed in a series of 10 government air strikes, many of which hit a marketplace in Douma.

The town is in the rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta outside the capital Damascus and is the regular target of government air strikes.

Last week, Amnesty International accused the government of committing war crimes in the region, saying its aerial assaults were compounding misery created by a tight regime blockade on the area.

It also accused rebels in the region of war crimes for firing rockets indiscriminately into Damascus.

More than 240,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.



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