Violence forces aid trucks to flee Syria's eastern Ghouta without unloading

Violence forces aid trucks to flee Syria's eastern Ghouta without unloading

The observatory added that the ground offensive has so far enabled government troops to retake 40% of Ghouta's territory after an escalation in bombings starting on February 18 that killed more than 800 people, including civilians.

Shortly after, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad imposed a siege on the area, home to some 400,000 people.

The Observatory said the Syrian government forces brought in reinforcements to take part in the Eastern Ghouta battle, placing the number of the backup soldiers at 700. The U.N.'s humanitarian office said the convoy carried food for 27,500 people.

Syrian government soldiers walk down a street in the town of al-Mohammadiyah, east of the capital Damascus, on March 7, 2018, as Syrian army soldiers push into the militant-held Eastern Ghouta enclave.

The offensive has been backed by Russian Federation, the government's key military ally.

Russia's defence ministry said some rebels wanted to accept the proposal to evacuate.

On March 5, the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Syrian reconciliation reported that the al-Nusra terrorist organization had fired mortar shells at the humanitarian convoy that was on its way to the Syrian town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.

Among other key findings, the panel said that an air strike by a "Russian fixed-wing aircraft" using unguided weapons last November hit a market killing at least 84 people and injuring 150 in Atareb, west of Aleppo, in a "de-escalation zone" declared by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

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Hours after the measure is meant to take effect, the United Nations says fighting has continued, making relief operations impossible.

In Hammuriyeh, air strikes were continuing to pummel the town on Tuesday.

Netherlands U.N. Ambassador Karel van Oosterom was speaking after the Council was briefed behind closed doors on the situation in Syria at the request of Britain and France.

During the telephone call, the two presidents vowed to continue their consultations and joint efforts to end conflicts in Syria, and in particular in eastern Ghouta, and will issue necessary orders in this area. It said the rebels were free to leave with their weapons and families unhindered.

Iyad Abdelaziz, a member of the Douma Local Council, says nine aid trucks had to leave the area after government shelling and airstrikes intensified in the evening. "The people sit with multiple families, with thousands of families in basement shelters", he said.

Monday's shipment was the first to enter eastern Ghouta amid weeks of a crippling siege and a government assault that has killed hundreds.

Turkey views the main Kurdish militia in Afrin as an extension of the Kurdish insurgency within its own borders.

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