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Syrian troops look to split rebel-held enclave

Syrian troops look to split rebel-held enclave

A Syria war monitor says that Syrian government troops and allied militias have seized half of the territory held by rebels in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta.

In Douma, eastern Ghouta's biggest town where civilians from other parts of the area have sought shelter, the sound of frontline battles could be heard, a witness there told Reuters.

Ingy Sedky says there needs to be repeated and continuous access to eastern Ghouta by humanitarian organizations.

The report outlines the most notable violations by Syrian regime/Russian forces in the region of Eastern Ghouta from when Security Council Resolution 2401 was adopted on the evening of 24 February, 2018, until the evening of March 6, 2018, ranging from killings and targeting vital civilian facilities to the use of prohibited weapons.

At the least, Skoog said, Sweden wants the government to immediate sign letters allowing another aid convoy to go to eastern Ghouta "preferably tomorrow".

"The Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation is pummeling the area with airstrikes and shelling attacks, as it makes a concerted effort to take back control of these towns and villages near Damascus", Ruth reports.

Wednesday's bombardment left at least 12 civilians dead including one child, the Observatory said, bringing the total toll in more than two weeks of bombing to more than 810 civilians, including 179 children.

Olwan said Wednesday that rebels had plugged their defensive lines after they crumbled in the early days of the assault.

The Syrian regime launched a ferocious assault on a rebel enclave outside Damascus on February 18, saying it wanted to crush Islamist groups and jihadists.

"The Secretary-General commends the courage of all humanitarians working tirelessly to ensure that people in need throughout Syria receive life-saving humanitarian aid", Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

In an interview on state TV, a Syrian army colonel expressed confidence Ghouta would fall quickly, saying the people there would return to the "state's embrace" "very, very, very soon".

Western countries and local rescue workers have accused the Syria government of gas attacks in eastern Ghouta, which the government has strongly denied.

The U.N. chief also is very concerned over attacks throughout the besieged Damascus suburbs of eastern Ghouta as well as reported shelling of the capital.

The Russian military has offered Syrian rebels safe passage out of eastern Ghouta, setting out a proposal to let the insurgents surrender their last major stronghold near Damascus to President Bashar al-Assad, which fighters have so far rejected.

Turkey yesterday announced it would establish camps in neighbouring Syria, including near the border in Idlib, to settle 170,000 people fleeing from the civil war.

He was speaking after the Security Council was briefed behind closed doors on the situation in Syria at the request of Britain and France.

Zeid Raaad al-Hussein, head of the United Nations Human Rights Council, warned in his annual report the destruction in Ghouta would simply be repeated elsewhere without any attempts to end the conflict.

Russian Federation and Syria have claimed that rebels are holding civilians captive in eastern Ghouta to serve as human shields, while rebel groups say civilians fear conscription or arrest if they enter regime territory.


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