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Amid lull, Red Cross delivers aid to Syria's Ghouta

11 March 2018

Damascus and Moscow have both said the assault is needed to stop rebel shelling of the nearby capital Damascus and end the rule of Islamist insurgents over civilians in Eastern Ghouta.

That's according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"It has been agreed that the first group of HTS members be released from the prisons of Jaish al-Islam".

The Syrian government has reportedly captured the central town of Misraba, and advanced onwards into surrounding farmland.

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The International Committee of the Red Cross said the aid convoy passed through front lines and was heading to the enclave's biggest town, Douma. Meanwhile, Syrian state TV reported that the battles in eastern Ghouta have intensified. ICRC spokeswoman Indy Sedky said the trucks crossed into eastern Ghouta yesterday "after getting security guarantees from all parties to make sure no incident will happen during the presence of our team" there.

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 violence has continued despite a United Nations security council resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid "without delay".

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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Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said talks were underway between government representatives and local figures to organise the evacuation of civilians or fighters from parts of the enclave. Hassan has sent us video footage of the beleagured town.

"After the opening of an additional checkpoint in the direction of Jisrein-Mlekha area, the Syrian side has registered increased number of clashes between the civilians and the militants who are blocking the exits from the area", Zolotukhin told reporters.

In rebel fire on Friday, a woman and a child were killed by a mortar round that hit the Damascus suburb of Jaramana, SANA said.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian Federation, his main ally, said the campaign was needed to end rebel shelling of Damascus and to end the rule of Islamist insurgents over the area's civilians.

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Amid lull, Red Cross delivers aid to Syria's Ghouta