By Ayhan Simsek
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called on European countries to step up efforts to stop Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime from committing massacres in Eastern Ghouta.
Addressing lawmakers in Germany's parliament ahead of an EU leaders summit in Brussels, Merkel condemned the regime's killing civilians in the besieged district.
"A regime fighting, not against terrorists, but against its own people, the killing of children, the destruction of hospitals, all in all this is a massacre which should be condemned," she said.
Merkel underlined that the European Union should play a stronger role in the Syria crisis, and step up efforts to stop such massacres.
"As Europeans we must work towards this," she stressed, and also renewed a call on the regime's backers in Russia and Iran to use their influence to prevent further massacres in the war-torn country.
Over 250 civilians have been killed and hundreds injured by intensified Syrian regime attacks in Damascus' Eastern Ghouta suburb since Monday.
At peace talks held in the Kazakh capital Astana last May, Turkey, Russia and Iran designated Eastern Ghouta a "de-escalation zone" in which acts of aggression would be expressly prohibited.
Home to some 400,000 civilian residents, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years.