World

Bombardment of Ghouta endangers aid convoy

Bombardment of Ghouta endangers aid convoy

In a statement published on Twitter on Friday, the group said the decision had been made in consultation with the United Nations, a number of worldwide parties and civil society representatives from eastern Ghouta.

The government, backed in the war by Russian Federation and Iran, is seeking to crush the last major rebel enclave near Damascus in a ferocious campaign that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says has killed 893 civilians in the last 18 days, including 91 on Wednesday.

People are seen with their belongings in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria March 8, 2018.

The district near the capital Damascus has been besieged for 5 years.

There was a pause in the government's bombardment overnight, but it soon resumed air strikes and shelling of Douma after the convoy of 13 trucks carrying food parcels crossed into eastern Ghouta, according to residents and the Observatory.




The onslaught has killed more than 1,000 people, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Thursday.

At the time, activists said the 13 truckloads had to leave Douma due to government shelling, while the government said the rebels shelling hindered the full offload of the remaining trucks before they prepared again to enter Douma on Friday.

State-run Syrian TV on Friday reported that "dozens of civilians" would likely get out of eastern Ghouta, in addition to 13 gunmen who had turned themselves in, via the Wafideen safe corridor designated by the government. The channel has been reporting since last week that rebels have prevented civilians from leaving. It added that 15 of the 20 hospitals and clinics that MSF supports have been hit by bombing or shelling, with varying degrees of damage. It added that insurgents targeted the Wafideen corridor on Friday afternoon with bullets and mortar shells. "But even more telling are the words we hear from the medics we are supporting on the ground", said MSF Director General Meinie Nicolai.

But Wael Alwan, the Istanbul-based spokesman for Failaq al-Rahman, one of the main rebel groups in eastern Ghouta, denied that the territory had been cut in half. Many civilians have fled from the frontlines into Douma, a town in the enclave.

The Observatory reported heavy fighting on several fronts.


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