Medical Group Says More Than 1000 Dead In Eastern Ghouta

Syria war: Jaish al-Islam to evacuate n of Eastern Ghouta fighters

Douma is the largest urban centre in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, and regime forces on Saturday were able to isolate it from the rest of the opposition bastion.

The government forces seized more than half of the area, including a stretch of farmland on Wednesday, effectively dividing the besieged enclave in two and further squeezing the rebels and tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside, state media and a war monitor reported.

Live footage it said was filmed in Mesraba showed battered buildings and bullet-pocked walls.

The presence of H.T.S. has been a chief justification cited by the Syrian government and its most powerful ally, Russia, for the scorched-earth bombing campaign they are carrying out in Eastern Ghouta.

"Tense negotiations continue between representatives of the Center. leaders of the illegal armed formations of the Syrian opposition in order to reach an agreement on the withdrawal of the second line of militants from the zone of de-escalation of East Ghouta", he said, according to Russian news agencies.

On Friday a United Nations convoy was able to successfully deliver aid to Eastern Ghouta, after previous deliveries were halted by shelling.

But the government of President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to continue military operations, as it regards nearly all rebel groups as terrorists.

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

The rebels in that city have also triggered the recent wide-scale military offensive in Eastern Ghouta, when the attacked a key military base in Harasta in January of this year, prompting the Syrian forces to start preparing a massive offensive to eliminate the rebels' threats in Ghouta.

Apart from Islamist groups such as Jaish al-Islam, jihadists from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), who are mostly linked to Al-Qaeda, are also deployed there.

However, U.N. agencies said most medical supplies had been stripped from the convoy by Syrian government officials and added that the food supplies brought in were insufficient. "Entire families eat one meal in several days", he said. The district is besieged by Syrian government forces.

The channel has been reporting since last week that rebels have prevented civilians from leaving.

The rebels in Eastern Ghouta are not one cohesive group. It accused the government of using "poison gas".

"I don't want to leave, but I don't want any harm to happen to my family", said Douma resident Abu Ahmad al-Ghoutani, who said he has two children.

"The bomb shelters and basements are full, and people are sleeping in the streets and in public gardens", the statement said.

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