Syrian regime makes fresh inroads into Eastern Ghouta

Nellie Chapman
March 12, 2018

US defense secretary Jim Mattis warned Damascus on Sunday against the use of poison gas as a weapon against civilians in Syria, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the Russian forces in Hmeimim have foiled the attack, which wasn't the first one against that base, the largest Russian-run facility in Syria.

The other two areas still in rebel hands are Douma, the region's biggest town in the north of the enclave, and the zone around Hammuriyeh and other towns to the south.

The Observatory said on Monday that about 511,000 people had been killed since the Syrian war began.

Haley said the U.S.is circulating a new resolution eliminating that loophole and demanding an immediate cease-fire in Damascus and the suburbs of eastern Ghouta to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate the wounded and critically ill.

Syrian regime forces advanced against rebels in Eastern Ghouta and pounded two towns with air strikes on Monday, as they moved closer to retaking the opposition enclave on the edge of Damascus. These deals involve the rebels surrendering their territory, and in exchange, they will be granted safe passage to opposition areas in northwest Syria, along with their families and civilians who do not wish to come under the rule of Assad.

The Observatory confirmed talks were taking place on Hammuriyeh, as well as the towns of Kafr Batna, Jisreen and Saqba, but said no agreement had yet been reached.

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The United Nations says 400,000 people live in the enclave, already suffering shortages of food and medicine even before the massive assault began in mid-February.

The government onslaught of Eastern Ghouta began on February 18 with a ferocious air campaign followed by a ground operation that has recaptured almost 60 percent of rebel territory.

This is one of the first recorded civilian evacuations from Eastern Ghouta since Russian Federation and Damascus opened a humanitarian corridor more than a week ago.

Turkey launched a solo military offensive against the Syrian Kurdish militia known as YPG to clear them from the enclave of Afrin. Turkish troops have destroyed water and power stations that supply the town of Afrin, making it hard for people to stay there, Ebrahim said.

Reports on Sunday alleged that dozens of civilians had managed to flee Eastern Ghouta through a humanitarian corridor.

Jaish al-Islam, one of the main rebel groups in eastern Ghouta, said on Monday it had reached an agreement with the government's ally Russian Federation to evacuate wounded people.

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