Over 900 Civilians Killed as Syrian Forces Continue Offensive against Eastern Ghouta

Wael Olwan, of the Failaq al-Rahman (the Rahman Legion), a major armed group linked to the Free Syrian Army in Eastern Ghouta, said on Wednesday that Assad forces have only attained about 30 percent of land.

USA officials have warned that Turkey's offensive could undermine the fight against the IS.

United Nations figures also show that almost 12 percent of children under the age of 5 in Ghouta have acute malnutrition.

Regime forces have been repeatedly accused of using chlorine on Eastern Ghouta in recent weeks, which both the government and Russian Federation have staunchly denied. More than 900 people have been killed in three weeks of relentless bombardment. They have been under government siege for years and were already running out of food and medicine before the assault.

Turkey's military says its troops have captured a key town in the northwestern Syrian enclave of Afrin from Syrian Kurdish fighters.

UN News spoke to Marwa Awad, communications officer for the World Food Programme (WFP), based in the Syrian capital, who said the escalation and fighting in besieged and hard-to-reach areas has paralysed the UN's response and WFP's ability to reach those who desperately need help.

Security concerns and other "developments on the ground" led to the convoy being postponed, Sedky said, adding that she could not comment on specific developments.

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Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Hussam Aala, told the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday military operations in eastern Ghouta targeted "terrorist organizations in accordance with global humanitarian law".

"Full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access must be granted", said the ministers.

"I'm very anxious for a repeat of very numerous bad things we saw in the final days of the battle of Aleppo but to some extent this is worse", he says.

"The reconciliation center's hotline is receiving phone calls from local residents, who say they are willing to leave Eastern Ghouta".

A military official said the regime would open up a new "humanitarian corridor" for civilians wishing to flee from the south of the enclave. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that a siege of Afrin's main city would begin after Jinderes is taken.

Russian Federation insists that using violence against civilians, preventing them from leaving the region and using them as a human shield is inadmissible, Yevtushenko went on.

ICRC regional director Robert Mardini tweeted that the convoy was "taken aback by renewed violence", adding that "we call on warring sides for an immediate humanitarian pause to allow" the ICRC, the United Nations and Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams to deliver vital aid to people in eastern Ghouta.

  • Regina Walsh