A doctor in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta neighborhood is pleading for help from President Trump as reports emerge of yet more chemical attacks against civilians in the battle-torn country. His pleas come as the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, in coordination with its Russian and Iranian backers, continues to ignore a Security Council resolution that calls for a 30-day humanitarian truce.
The aid convoy planned for Thursday has already been postponed due to the heavy fighting.
“You are the president of the largest and greatest country in this world. You are the (most) powerful president in this world, so please therefore I call on you to stop the killing, to break this siege and help our people,” Dr. Bassam Bakri pleaded to Trump from a clinic in eastern Ghouta.
On Monday, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was considering a new round of military action against the Assad regime following reports of chemical weapons use on civilians. Trump ordered an attack in April 2017 against a Syrian airfield in response to a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians, many of them children. The U.S. launched dozens of cruise missiles during the attack.
"I call on you to stop the killing, to break this siege and help our people.”
“As you saw the president’s response to the attack last year, this is something that is under serious discussion as we speak, but again something that needs to be discussed in a classified discussion,” Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, told senators on Tuesday during a Senate Armed Services committee hearing on worldwide threats.
Coats was responding to a question from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who asked about recent chemical attacks on civilians in Syria, the use of chlorine gas as a weapon of mass destruction and how the administration was responding to it.
Bakri, who is working for the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), told Fox News on Wednesday that he was a witness to the “criminal war” by the Assad regime, Iran and Russia. Speaking via text messages, he said that medics are struggling to keep up given the lack of medicine and medical supplies getting to him and his colleagues.
Bakri complained about the UN Security Council’s inaction regarding the chemical attacks. “The problem is the Security Council is just watching. They don’t make real action to enforce its resolution.” He said the effects on women and children in eastern Ghouta are “catastrophic.”
Within a few hours of his first interview with Fox News, Bakri sent a video, supplied to Fox News by the Syrian American Council, which showed the aftermath of what he claimed was another chemical weapons attack Wednesday.
Standing in what looked like a clinic with the sound of a respirator growling in the background, Bakri told Fox News: “We are here standing in besieged eastern Ghouta. It’s the third or fourth attack by chlorine gas by Assad and Russia airstrike.” He then panned his camera to show a child victim who was coughing and crying. In another video, he said the smell of chlorine gas was in the air as he tried to help a male patient who was suffering a severe coughing episode.
Also on Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert tweeted a meme condemning Russia’s actions. It showed a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin with “Russian Promises” as the title, and said in part that “Russia and the Syrian regime are responsible for the killing of innocent civilians.”
Nauert's tweet said, “#Russia voted for the @UN #ceasefire across #Syria, then Russia ignored it by bombing civilians in Damascus and #East Ghouta. We call on Russia and the Assad regime to adhere to #UNSC Res.2401 and & allow the delivery of desperately-needed humanitarian aid to 400,000 civilians.”
As the attacks continue, seemingly unabated on eastern Ghouta, France and the UK called for an emergency closed meeting of the Security Council Wednesday, when members were briefed on the situation on the ground there. While no action was agreed upon, members heard briefings on the humanitarian situation as well as the political situation between the warring parties.
One Security Council diplomat told Fox News that the briefing from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revealed to Security Council members that the number of people in urgent need of medical evacuations is now 6,500 -- up from approximately 600 people before the concentrated airstrikes against eastern Ghouta began in January.
The Security Council will meet again next Monday on Syria and will hear a briefing from the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Resolution 2401.
The Syrian American Council estimates hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed since the passage of the UN Security Council resolution 12 days ago.