Syria regime controls 70 percent of Ghouta enclave: monitor

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Syria's war: Offensives on Afrin and Ghouta continue
Author

16 March, 2018

Trucks, brimming with furniture and bags lined the road out of Afrin along with civilians on foot, lugging a few belongings.

Turkey had warned the Syrian government against coming to the aid of the Kurdish militia which Ankara considers "terrorists" and aligned with Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey. Turkish media reports said the resolution would call for an end to the Turkish offensive in Afrin enclave and a withdrawal of Turkish troops. "You should know this, you should know this".

"The European Parliament can not say a word to Turkey [about the ongoing Operation Olive Branch]", he added.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

Turkish forces tightened their siege of Afrin in recent days.

The developments came just as Syria's civil war, which ICRC president Peter Maurer said had "extracted an immensely painful human toll", entered its eighth year. Russian Federation and Iran have been strong backers of Assad, helping him in his bid to regain control of territories.

The US, UK and France have suggested they would act against the government, but it was unclear what would trigger the trilateral action.

Eastern Ghouta had been the main rebel bastion on the outskirts of Damascus since 2012 and came under a devastating regime siege the following year.

The Britain-based Observatory said government troops were now in control of the eastern half of Hammuriyeh.

Syrian state TV yesterday broadcast footage from the town and said army troops had moved out dozens of residents who had remained in their neighborhood as it fell to the government.

They were reportedly headed toward government-controlled parts of Damascus.

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It marked the first time such large crowds of people had fled the enclave since the government launched a fierce offensive to recapture it almost a month ago. Al-Mayadeen showed buses waiting to pick up civilians.

State-run Al-Ihkbariya said civilians would be taken to a center for identification and relief.

Mohamed Katoub, a spokesman for the Syrian American Medical Society, which oversees a number of medical facilities in eastern Ghouta, said a list of over 1,000 patients requiring urgent care has been ready for two weeks.

The same year, Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah says it is fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

A convoy delivering aid to thousands of displaced Syrian families has entered the besieged rebel-held region of eastern Ghouta, as Russian Federation announced an extended "humanitarian pause" in fighting.

"This is just a little of what these families need", the ICRC said.

Last Friday, a 13-truck convoy entered Douma to deliver aid.

It said one of its rescue workers was killed in an air strike in Hazeh on Thursday.

On Thursday, fresh bombardment left at least three civilians dead in nearby towns in Ghouta, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

It also said government forces targeted a column of civilians fleeing Hamouria before dawn Thursday, wounding several people, and that 26 people were killed in government strikes on the town on Wednesday. It claimed the pause has allowed growing numbers of civilians to reach safety.

'Every hour, over 800 people are leaving, ' Russia's RIA news agency cited Major General Vladimir Zolotukhin as saying. The broadcaster said 25 people were evacuated.


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