Syrian opposition calls for focus on Assad's war crimes

- The Syrian National Coalition alleges that the Assad regime had laid seige to Douma district of Damascus the same way the ISIL did in Kobani.

ISTANBUL (AA) – A Syrian rebel coalition has urged the international community to focus its attention on atrocities committed in the capital Damascus just like it did in the Syrian town of Kobani.

According to the Syrian National Coalition Thursday, President Bashar al-Assad’s regime had put the Douma district of the capital under siege for months in the same way the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorist group did in Kobani.

"Killing children and elders with barrel bombs, using poisonous gases is as ugly as the beheadings and burning carried out by ISIL militants,"  Khaled Khoja, head of the coalition, said at a press conference in Istanbul.

Residents of East Ghouta and Homs want an end to the regime's bombardment and an opening of a humanitarian corridor in the area, Khoja said.

The rebel group representative alleged that Assad forces were destroying Douma and its neighborhood. "At least 350 people, half of them women and children have been killed and thousands are homeless," he said. The toll could not be independently verified.

 "The Arab League, UN and Friends of the Syrian People group should fulfill their responsibilities for the Syrian people and protect them," he said. Khoja also urged the Free Syrian Army to take action to end the regime-imposed blockade and protect civilians in the area.

He also clarified that the rebel coalition was against a U.S.-led ground operation in Syria and instead called equipping the Free Syrian Army.

Syria has been gripped by violence since the Assad regime launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011, triggering a conflict that has left at least 350,000 people dead and displaced almost half of the country's population.

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