Fighters and families start to leave eastern Ghouta

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"The death toll has gone up to 1,002 civilians, after eight people were killed today in Harasta and Arbin", said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

There was a pause in the government's bombardment overnight, but air strikes and shelling quickly resumed after the convoy carrying food parcels crossed into eastern Ghouta, according to residents and the Observatory.

The two largest groups are Jaish al-Islam and its rival Faylaq al-Rahman.

Hamza Hassan, a surgeon working at one of the hospitals in eastern Ghouta, said that staff was overwhelmed with chlorine odour and that he treated 29 children with breathing problems.

The assault has followed a divide-and-conquer strategy, eating away at rebel-held territory, and government forces on Saturday successfully isolated Ghouta's main town of Douma in a blow for the beleaguered rebels.

The military gains have caused wide-scale internal displacement as civilians flee government advances toward areas in the territory still held by the rebels.

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Eastern Ghouta, a besieged area on the outskirts of Damascus with some 400,000 people, has witnessed deadly violence over the past few weeks, as Takfiri terrorist outfits have launched mortar attacks on the Syrian capital in the face of an imminent humiliating defeat, killing around 20 civilians in two weeks. The latter has in the past fought alongside HTS.

The Syrian army advanced on Saturday (10 March) into eastern Ghouta, the last major rebel stronghold near the capital Damascus.

Numerous rounds of UN-backed peace talks have failed to bring an end to the conflict, and a nationwide ceasefire called for by the UN Security Council last month has not been implemented. Numerous victims are children.

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.

In January, Turkey began an offensive to oust the Kurdish YPG militia from the Afrin region in northern Syria, near the Turkish border. In mid-February, President Bashar al-Assad's government stepped up its assault on the area.

The YPG denies any direct organisational links to the PKK - an assertion backed by the USA, which has provided the militia and allied Arab fighters with weapons and air support to help them battle the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).