Assad troops take half of besieged Ghouta as rebel groups surrender

MIDEAST-CRISIS  SYRIA

A war-monitoring group says Syrian government shelling and airstrikes killed 80 people in the besieged eastern suburbs of Damascus the previous day, making it the deadliest day there since the U.N.'s Security Council last month demanded a cease-fire across Syria.

The Russian-supported "indiscriminate, brutal attacks" have killed at least 800 people and led most of the area's estimated 400,000 population to seek shelter in basements from intense shelling and air strikes despite demands from the United Nations for a ceasefire on 24 February.

Details of the convoy's failure came as the Russian military said it had offered Syrian rebels safe passage out of eastern Ghouta, setting out a proposal to let the opposition surrender its last major stronghold near Damascus to President Bashar al-Assad.

On Monday the first humanitarian aid convoys since November rolled into rebel-held areas in the Damascus suburbs to deliver medical supplies, food and nutritional supplements to besieged civilians.

The Assad regime, backed by Russian Federation, claims that it is only targeting "members of banned terrorist groups who are unprotected by the truce", as Reuters puts it.

She said that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is "highly focused" on the Eastern Ghouta situation in regular talks with counterparts.

"People were afraid", he said, "They didn't want government troops to reach their doorsteps and kill them and their families", Khouli said.

Speaking to reporters at a news conference, Kalın said that Turkey has mobilized all efforts to get concrete results to find a solution to the humanitarian crisis in eastern Ghouta.

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"When you are prepared to kill your own people so easily, lying is easy too".

The United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in Syria.

On February 20 Russian air strikes reportedly target Eastern Ghouta for the first time in three months, hitting the key regional hospital in Arbin. It said the rebels were free to leave with their weapons and families unhindered.

"It shows what a farce this de-escalation zone has become", Nauert said.

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria stated the next humanitarian convoy to head to Eastern Ghouta is scheduled for Thursday, March 8. The goal of the operation is clear Turkey's Syrian border from the terrorist threat.

Iyad Abdelaziz, a member of the Douma Local Council, says nine aid trucks had to leave the area after government shelling and airstrikes intensified in the evening.

Syria has established a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to leave the operation zone, while Russian Federation has been enforcing daily pauses in fighting from 09:00 a.m.to 02:00 p.m. local time to facilitate the exit of people.

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