Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

More than 900 killed in assault on Syria's Ghouta

More than 900 killed in assault on Syria's Ghouta

A humanitarian aid convoy scheduled to enter the besieged East Ghouta suburbs outside Damascus on Thursday was postponed amid pro-government bombings and claims of a chlorine gas attack on the rebel-held enclave.

The military campaign has killed more than 900 civilians since it began on February 18, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.

On Wednesday, government forces captured Beit Sawa, Al-Ashaari, and nearby farmland, the Britain-based Observatory said, putting them in control of more than half the territory once held by rebels.

"Eastern Ghouta is experiencing a Middle Ages-style siege", France's United Nations ambassador Francois Delattre tells reporters in early January.

"There is no communication with the Russians, directly or indirectly", said Wael Alwan, spokesman for Faylaq al-Rahman.

For the 400,000 people the United Nations says live in eastern Ghouta, the assault has come after years of siege that has caused shortages of food and medicine.

Civilians have been fleeing frontline areas into Douma and hiding in cellars, with aid workers saying many children had told them they had not seen daylight in 20 days. The area has already been under government siege fore months increasing the suffering of residents. He called on the Syrian government and Russian Federation as the stronger parties, but also on countries that have influence over the armed rebel groups, to secure a period of calm.

The situation keeps deteriorating, escalating, and transforming into a "hell on earth", the high commissioner said, in reference to the recent escalations in east Ghouta, near the Syrian capital.

Syrians children receive treatment for breathing difficulties at a clinic in Syria's Eastern Ghouta.

Contacts have been fruitless so far, perhaps, due to the large number of fighters or because they may have believed the army would not mount an all-out offensive while troops were engaged on other fronts.

The trucks were instead parked on the edges of eastern Ghouta, at the government-controlled Wafideen checkpoint, Agence France-Presse reported.

Eastern Ghouta is near the outskirts of Damascus, which continues to be a government stronghold.

"The convoy for today is postponed as the situation is evolving on the ground, which doesn't allow us to carry out the operation in such conditions", Ingy Sedky, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said. Numerous victims are children.

A rebel fighter with Jaish al-Islam, one of the main factions in eastern Ghouta, said intense fighting was under way.

"The entire city of Jandairis was liberated from the secessionist gangs", said the commander, who goes by the name Abu Saleh.

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