Syrian army advances in eastern Ghouta after aid deliveries

Syrian army advances in eastern Ghouta after aid deliveries

On Friday, the Russian military said that the first group of militants surrendered their arms and left the rebel-controlled Damascus suburb through Muhayam al-Wafideen corridor.

On Saturday, at least one child was killed and four other civilians wounded in rebel shelling on eastern districts of Damascus, according to state news agency SANA.

The two largest groups are Jaish al-Islam and its rival Faylaq al-Rahman.

The renewed artillery fire came as representatives of Damascus and businessmen pressed negotiations on a solution that would allow civilians or fighters to leave the enclave, the Observatory said.

Meanwhile an opposition website said that a group of fighters from the jihadists Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) arrived in central Hama province from Eastern Ghouta, a day after an evacuation deal was reached.

Civilians are not safe anywhere in eastern Ghouta, and aid workers who entered briefly on Monday said some residents had not seen sunlight for two weeks because they were sheltering underground. It is hard for aid convoys to reach eastern Ghouta and the worldwide community is failing to intervene.

The aid was delivered with helicopters hovering overhead and warplanes targeting areas outside Douma, a correspondent in the town said.

UK to respond if Russia link proved: May
They were asked to help because they had "the necessary capability and expertise", the Metropolitan Police said on Friday. Calling it a "tragic situation", Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin had no information about the incident.

Doctors and nurses in the beleaguered enclave have run out of several life-saving items and a massive medical re-supply is critically urgent, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Friday.

The UN has called it "hell on earth".

The government says its forces now control half the enclave.

"We have no guarantees that the regime will protect the families that want to leave and that it won't send the men to the frontlines", he added.

Some 400,000 people are still thought to live in the area, seven years into Syria's civil war. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi spoke about the situation and suffering in the region while in Beirut on Friday.

Rebels have tried to slow the advance with an attempted counter-offensive, but President Bashar al-Assad's forces steamrolled their efforts.

The military has been accused of targeting civilians, but it says it is trying to liberate the region - one of the last rebel strongholds - from those it terms terrorists.

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