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19 March 2018, 04:12 | Bernice Figueroa
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"This is not new for the people of Eastern Ghouta: people who've been trapped in a cruel siege for almost six years are now being attacked daily, killed and maimed by their government".
Eastern Ghouta, which houses around 400,000 residents, has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years with humanitarian access being completely cut off.
"As a result of this engagement, a tenuous, fragile ceasefire between the Government, the Russian military and Jaish al Islam forces has continued to largely hold, for six days now", he said, noting however that this is only one part of Eastern Ghouta, and it is not being replicated in the rest of that area.
Earlier this week, smaller groups of sick and wounded people were evacuated from another zone further north, under a deal the Jaish al-Islam rebel faction that controls it and Russian Federation. Mobile clinics were open and some people were taken to hospital in the capital, it said.
"Every hour, over 800 people are leaving", Russia's RIA news agency cited Major General Vladimir Zolotukhin as saying.
Syrian government troops have been pressing a ferocious air and ground assault on Ghouta since February 18 that has seen them retake 70% of the former rebel bastion.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 30 people were killed in the strikes on the eastern Ghouta's Zamalka town that hit a group of people who were trying to flee into regime-controlled areas.
Turkish air and artillery strikes rained down overnight and in recent days, driving tens of thousands out of the main town by auto and on foot, Kurdish authorities and the Observatory say.
Turkey's military has rejected allegations it bombed a hospital in Afrin in northwestern Syria, where it's engaged in an offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters.
The two offensives - one by the Syrian army with Russia's support, the other led by Turkey with allied Syrian rebels - entered decisive phases this week.
Turkey launched an offensive against the YPG on January 20 to clear Afrin. Syrian and Russian jets struck the town of Kafr Batna with cluster bombs, napalm-like incendiary weapons, and conventional explosives, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
According to Turkey's state-run Anadolu agency, Turkish forces said Tuesday they had encircled the city of Afrin.
Ebrahim Ebrahim, a Europe-based spokesman for the largest Kurdish group in Syria, the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, blasted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a "terrorists killing children".
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