More than 1000 need medical evacuation from Syria's Ghouta


The Syrian regime has delivered a serious blow to the rebel-held eastern Ghouta as its forces started seizing more ground from territories that have been controlled by the rebels for five years.

Last year, the U.S. responded to reports that the Syrian regime had used sarin gas against the city of Khan Sheikhoun by attacking the regime's Shayrat Air Base.

The largest rebel group in Syria's eastern Ghouta region, just outside the capital of Damascus, says it has agreed with Russian forces to have wounded people evacuated from the enclave.

The man was killed in Kafr Batna where talks have been ongoing with the regime on a possible deal to evacuate fighters and civilians from the area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Sunday's advance split the Eastern Ghouta suburbs in two, with one side measuring 8 square miles (22 square kilometers) and the other 10 square miles (27 square kilometers), the AP said.

The U.N. estimates almost 400,000 civilians are living under a crippling siege in eastern Ghouta.

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Assad and his ally Russian Federation say the assault on eastern Ghouta is needed to end the rule of Islamist insurgents over the civilian population and to stop mortar fire on nearby Damascus.

The United States asked the Security Council to demand an immediate 30-day ceasefire in Damascus and rebel-held eastern Ghouta, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, say they are targeting "terrorist" groups which are shelling the capital.

Recapturing the enclave would mark one of the most significant victories for President Bashar Assad in the seven-year civil war.

At least 70 people had been buried in a town park because air strikes made it unsafe to reach the cemetery on the outskirts, it said. The United Nations says 400,000 people live in the enclave, already suffering shortages of food and medicine even before the massive assault began in mid-February.

The United States on Monday warned that it was ready to act in Syria, if needed, to end chemical attacks and "inhuman suffering", as it pushed for a new 30-day ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta. He blamed Russian Federation and Turkey for what he called "war crimes that are being committed in Afrin".

Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper reported that civilians are leaving the town of Afrin, heading to government-controlled areas and the town of Manbij, which is held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. A statement issued by Free Syrian Army factions there late on Saturday said they had taken a decision not to accept a surrender and negotiated withdrawal. Ankara considers the YPG a terror organization linked to its own Kurdish insurgency.