Aid delivered to Syria's Ghouta amid fighting

Aid delivered to Syria's Ghouta amid fighting

The rebels in Eastern Ghouta are not one cohesive group.

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.

"It has been agreed that the first group of HTS members be released from the prisons of Jaish al-Islam".

"It is very inhuman to do", he said, referring to the governments strategy to keep humanitarian aid from reaching trapped civilians.

The Doctors Without Borders charity called for desperately needed medical supplies to be allowed into the enclave, where exhausted doctors have been struggling to treat hundreds of wounded. ICRC spokeswoman Indy Sedky said the trucks crossed into eastern Ghouta yesterday "after getting security guarantees from all parties to make sure no incident will happen during the presence of our team" there.

The food parcels were supposed to be delivered on Monday when another aid convoy entered Douma, but the fighting and bombardment then forced it to leave early without unloading all its supplies.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said the aid convoy passed through front lines and was heading to the enclave's biggest town, Douma.

Almost 950 civilians have been killed since Russia-backed government forces launched a blistering assault on the last opposition bastion near Damascus on Feb 18.

The main groups had said on February 27 they would be willing to expel jihadist fighters from the enclave as soon as a United Nations ceasefire took effect. The channel has been reporting since last week that rebels have prevented civilians from leaving.

The government says its forces now control half the enclave.

He told journalists there had also been discussions for "500 fighters to hand over their weapons to the army".

According to reports, more than 400,000 people still reside in the region, seven years into the Syrian civil war. With the help of Russia, President Bashar al-Assad has employed an offensive that includes relentless air strikes and tight sieges to pressure rebels into "evacuation deals".

Saturday, Ankara-backed rebels advanced against Kurdish militia in northwest Syria, coming to within two kilometres (just over one mile) of the flashpoint town of Afrin, the Observatory said.

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