Italy's foreign minister Angelino Alfano on Wednesday condemnedthe "barbaric" Russian-backed bombardment by Syrian government forces of the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus that has killed around 300 people in three days and injured at least 1,400.
"We thought we had seen everything there was to see in the Syrian crisis: massacres, chemical weapons, grave violations of human rights," Alfano said in a statement.
"But the terrible news coming from Ghouta, to the east of Damascus, where an offensive by the Syrian regime is barbarically slaughtering so many civilians including women and children, reveals a new amoral and tragic abyss in Syria," the statement continued.
Alfano backed a United Nations' appeal for an immediate halt the massive escalation in bombardment since Sunday, including rocket fire, shelling, air strikes and helicopter-dropped barrel bombs, and an end to the crippling four-year siege of Eastern Ghouta.
"I join the UN's call for an immediate stop to the bombardment, an end to the siege and the reopening of humanitarian channels to ensure full access to aid, particularly food and medicine," Alfano said.
"The Damascus regime is responsible for the inhumane violence," Alfano underlined.
Alfano also implored international and regional players in Syria's seven-year-long civil war - especially Russia, Iran and Turkey "to end this tragedy".