Syrian army gains ground in eastern Ghouta

Violet Powell
March 11, 2018

The fighters from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group made up mostly of Al-Qaeda's ex-affiliate Al-Nusra Front, is to be evacuated to the northern province of Idlib, Jaish al-Islam said in a statement.

Syrian government forces have surrounded the largest town in the besieged enclave of eastern Ghouta, in a prelude to a possible ground assault that could further inflame a dire humanitarian crisis.

The convoy entered during a brief lull but the bombardment and fighting resumed after the convoy entered Eastern Ghouta.

United Nations aid agencies have pleaded with the Syrian government and its ally Russian Federation to halt the campaign and let aid in.

However, U.N. agencies said most medical supplies had been stripped from the convoy by Syrian government officials and added that the food supplies brought in were insufficient.

The aid was delivered with helicopters hovering overhead and warplanes targeting areas outside Douma, a correspondent in the town said.

MSF said on Thursday the offensive had killed 1,005 people and injured at least 4,829.

09 de marzo de 2018, 16:37Damascus, Mar 9 (Prensa Latina) A convoy with humanitarian assistance, including 13 truckloads of food, entered the eastern Ghouta region of eastern Syria, where terrorist groups are preventing local residents from moving to safer areas.

A suburb of Damascus, Eastern Ghouta - home to some 400,000 people - has remained the target of a crippling regime siege for the last five years that has rendered the delivery of humanitarian aid nearly impossible.

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The government says its forces now control half the enclave.

In other areas such as Aleppo, rebels have eventually surrendered terrain in return for safe passage to other opposition areas along with relatives and civilians loath to fall back under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Air strikes hit the areas of Jisreen and Harasta after stopping briefly in the early morning, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

State media have reported people in eastern Ghouta raising Syrian government flags and holding small protests in support of Assad.

Tens of thousands of people have fled further into the enclave in the face of the warfare, a United Nations official said on Thursday, and residents of Douma said shelters were crowded with the new arrivals.

In a surprise move, several members of Syria's armed opposition have been evacuated from rebel-held Eastern Ghouta late on Friday, sources told Al Jazeera.

A negotiator from the town said a "civilian delegation" was "to negotiate with the regime towards a solution to end the fighting" in the area.

The World Health Organization said it has verified 67 hits on medical facilities in Syria through January and February, almost half of them in Eastern Ghouta.

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