Syrian regime's blitz of Eastern Ghouta

Katrina Barker
April 8, 2018

Airstrikes carried out by Syrian government forces on the town of Douma killed 27 civilians on Friday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom -based monitoring group.

According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, eight civilians were killed in air strikes on the rebel-controlled Douma, as government forces resumed their offensive.

He said at least four civilians were killed and 25 wounded.

Evacuations from the rebel-held town of Douma near Damascus were suspended for the second day Friday, days after hundreds of opposition fighters and their relatives left for areas of the country's north as part of a surrender deal following the eastern Ghouta offensive.

Russian Federation on Sunday reported a deal had been reached for Jaish al-Islam fighters to depart Douma, nevertheless the rebel group has not however confirmed the settlement.

A steady trickle of buses had been carrying residents from Douma for nearly a week, apparently under the terms of an agreement struck between Jaish al-Islam and Russian Federation.

Five civilians were killed and 30 others wounded Saturday by the rebels' mortar shells amid intensifying military showdown in Damascus' Douma district, Xinhua reported citing the state news agency SANA.

Civil Defense volunteers, known as the White Helmets, carry a wounded man into a makeshift hospital in the rebel-held town of Douma, following air strikes by regime forces on the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on February 20, 2018.

Another eight civilians were killed on Saturday as more bombing raids slammed into the town, the Britain-based Observatory said.

The offensive to reclaim Douma, the last pocket of resistance in the suburbs surrounding Damascus, also followed talks between Turkey, Russia and Iran, on Syria.

Tens of thousands of people also fled through humanitarian corridors opened by Russian Federation and Syrian troops. "Forces are already amassing there and there is massive pressure on Jaish al-Islam", said Nawar Oliver, an analyst at the Omran Institute.

Jaish al-Islam have avoided taking part in the so-called "evacuation deals" and demanded that they be allowed to stay on in Douma as a "police force".

It remains unclear exactly why the talks between Moscow and Jaish al-Islam have faltered.

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the renewed outbreak of fighting in Douma "is of great concern to us".

"The talks were going well".

On Saturday, fresh artillery fire hit those fields, said the Observatory.

It also said there were cases of suffocation among civilians from residential areas after they were targeted by "poison gas "chlorine".

"The regime is trying to tighten the noose around Douma from the west, east, and south", said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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