China to expand its role in Syrian conflict, ambassador says

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
Istanbul
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China will expand its role in the reconstruction process in war-torn Syria through sending more aid, Chinese Ambassador to Syria Qi Qianjin said Sunday.

"I think it's about time to focus all efforts on the development and reconstruction of Syria, and I think China will play a bigger role in this process by providing more aid to the Syrian people and the Syrian [regime]," the ambassador said during a tour of the al-Muwasat University Hospital in Damascus, as reported by Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The situation in Syria has worsened since the U.N. called for a cease-fire on Feb. 6 amid "some of the worst fighting of the entire conflict," U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator Ali al-Za'tari said yesterday.

There are reports of "hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries, massive displacement and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities," Za'tari said in an emailed statement, as reported by Reuters.

Since Feb. 5, Bashar Assad's regime has intensified its bombardment of the besieged region outside Damascus, killing more than 245 civilians including dozens of children.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein last week called for international action to stop one of the bloodiest periods of the Syrian conflict. Syrian people are suffering "though one of the most violent periods in nearly seven years of conflict," said the U.N. statement, according to Anadolu Agency (AA).

‘'The past week has been one of the bloodiest periods of the entire conflict, with wave after wave of deadly airstrikes leading to civilian casualties in the areas of Eastern Ghouta and Idlib," Zeid said in a statement. "Over 1,000 civilian casualties from airstrikes were reported in the first week of February alone." Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. While U.N. officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, Syrian regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10,000.

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