Syria's Assad says bloody Ghouta campaign must go on

Syria's Assad says bloody Ghouta campaign must go on

Syria's Assad says bloody Ghouta campaign must go on

Late Saturday, regime forces and its supporters advanced into opposition-held areas, capturing the town of al Nashabiya, and the villages of Otaya and Hazrama.

Neither the daily pause ordered by the Russians - Syria's main backers - nor the ordering of a nationwide ceasefire by the UN Security Council have led to any humanitarian relief for the enclave. But while the air campaign has eased, fighting has intensified on the ground.

Thousands of civilians have died in or fled the Eastern Ghouta region.

Regime forces dropped leaflets on Eastern Ghouta before the offensive on Saturday night, informing residents of safe spaces, humanitarian corridors and medical points.

Rebels were forced to retreat and regroup in Eastern Ghouta because of the Syrian government's "scorched earth" policy involving heavy artillery fire, air strikes, and helicopter attacks, a spokesman for the Jaish al-Islam rebel group said on Sunday.

The regime's capture of that city marked a turning point in the war, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad taking back control of all four major cities in the country - with the help of Russian Federation.

It is the strongest accusation to date of Moscow's complicity in civilian deaths in Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta region. An aid convoy consisting of 46 truckloads will be allowed in Monday with health and nutrition supplies and food for 27,500. "The operation must continue", Assad said remarks broadcast on state television.

"President Trump and President al-Sisi agreed to work together on ending the humanitarian crisis in Syria and achieving Arab unity and security in the region", the White House statement said.

No civilians have left and no humanitarian convoys entered that area, with the government accusing the rebels of preventing the civilians from leaving.

A United Nations humanitarian official said people in eastern Ghouta were being subjected to unacceptable "collective punishment", which is illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

Syrian government forces have seized roughly one-quarter of the territory in recent days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.

"Instead of a much-needed reprieve, we continue to see more fighting, more death, and more disturbing reports of hunger and hospitals being bombed", United Nations regional humanitarian co-ordinator Panos Moumtzis said on Sunday.

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

As Syria's conflict approaches its seventh anniversary, Assad's forces, heavily backed by Russian Federation, have retaken most of the territory once lost to rebels.

Eastern Ghouta, a Damascus suburb, has been under siege for the last five years and humanitarian access to the area, which is home to some 400,000 people, has been completely cut off.

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