Syrian forces cut off key towns in Eastern Ghouta enclave

Syrian forces cut off key towns in Eastern Ghouta enclave

On Friday, the Russian military said that the first group of militants surrendered their arms and left the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb through Muhayam al-Wafideen corridor.

At least 800 civilians have been killed since the offensive started on February 18, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights group, which monitors the conflict through a network of activists on the ground.

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

In the town of Hammuriyeh, dozens of people took part in a protest calling for an end to the bloodshed, the Britain-based Observatory said.

But soon after the convoy of 13 trucks carrying food parcels crossed into Eastern Ghouta, the Observatory and a witness in Douma said air strikes had resumed.

A charity called for desperately needed medical supplies to be allowed into the enclave, where exhausted doctors and nurses have been struggling to treat hundreds of wounded with very little equipment.

Civilians are not safe anywhere in eastern Ghouta, and aid workers who entered briefly on Monday said some residents had not seen sunlight for two weeks because they were sheltering underground.

Manafort pleads not guilty at arraignment in Russian Federation probe
Ellis III picked the July date, though he did not foreclose the possibility of granting an extension to the defense if warranted. The judge imposed similar bail conditions on Manafort to those already in place in the District, including home confinement.

Thirteen trucks loaded with 2,400 food parcels, meanwhile, crossed into Eastern Ghouta, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, entering what United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has called "hell on earth".

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

Despite two weeks of air strikes and artillery bombardment that have killed nearly 950 civilians, the main rebel groups have so far rejected Russian-brokered offers to evacuate civilians or any of their own fighters.

Such evacuation deals have been repeatedly agreed in Syria's seven-year war, most notably in the second city of Aleppo in late 2016.

Within the last eight months, the regime has stepped up the siege, preventing food and medicine from entering the district, leaving thousands of residents in need of medical treatment.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have besieged Eastern Ghouta since 2013.

In January, Turkey began an offensive to oust the Kurdish YPG militia from the Afrin region in northern Syria, near the Turkish border.

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