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Syrian regime kills 23 more civilians in Eastern Ghouta

05 March 2018, 12:32 | Marta Robbins

Fighting shakes Syrian enclave after army advances

Militants announce curfew for time of humanitarian pauses in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

Forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, have captured six villages and towns bordering the besieged rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta, as hopes that a long-planned humanitarian convoy might enter the area were dashed again on Sunday.

Fighting on the ground has intensified, with government forces reportedly advancing on several fronts since Thursday and are said to have recaptured two areas in the east and southeast of the enclave.

Russian Federation has accused the rebels of preventing civilians from leaving, allegations denied by the insurgents.

His remarks came as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said regime forces had advanced to within three kilometres (two miles) of Ghouta's main town, Douma, after retaking "more than 25 percent" of the enclave.

Q&A How bad is the situation in eastern Ghouta and is aid getting in?

The UN resolution provided little detail on when the ceasefire was meant to begin, how it would be enforced or even whether all the parties concerned were aware of it. "The operation must continue", Assad told journalists in remarks broadcast on state television.

Western leaders were quick to point the finger at the Syrian government after reports of chlorine release in Eastern Ghouta last week.

SOHR reported later Sunday that the Assad regime forces have seized roughly one quarter of eastern Ghouta in recent days.

Drop in US oil prices
Gasoline stocks rose by 2.5 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for a 190,000-barrel drop. Reuters is reporting Brent crude futures eased 6 cents to $67.44 a barrel by 1519 GMT, while U.S.

"The civilized world must not tolerate the Assad regime's continued use of chemical weapons", Sanders added.

The convoy of some 40 trucks had been due to go to Douma in the regime-besieged enclave near Damascus, where some 400,000 people need food, medical and other supplies, the United Nations says. However, no aid has been delivered, according to Reuters.

The UN's regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis, sounded the alarm over the increased violence.

"Instead of a much needed reprieve, we continue to see more fighting, more death, and more disturbing reports of hunger and hospitals being bombed".

"This collective punishment of civilians is simply unacceptable".

The regime's ground and air attacks continued on civilians in the opposition-hold area near capital Damascus despite decisions to implement a ceasefire made separately by Russian Federation and the UN Security Council.

But on Saturday, it said that 18 civilians, including three children, had been killed in regime bombardment of the region.

It says shelling and air strikes have killed 659 people in eastern Ghouta since February 18, making the offensive one of the deadliest of the war, while rebel shelling of Damascus has killed 27.



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