Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Dozens killed in Ghouta airstrikes as thousands flee

Dozens killed in Ghouta airstrikes as thousands flee

Rescuers and a monitor said air strikes pounded the besieged zone.

He earlier said that "the flow of people is comparable to the day when the civilians started to leave [Eastern Ghouta]". Both have shown how foreign backers and their Syrian allies are reshaping the map after the defeat of Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate a year ago.

The offensive has pushed thousands more to flee their homes into regime-controlled areas.

In other parts of the country, Turkey's military rejected allegations it bombed a hospital in Afrin in northwestern Syria, where it's engaged in an offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters.

"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.

At present, it is unclear which Syrian army formations are involved in the assault operation, however given general knowledge on the disposition of government units in east Damascus, it may very well be the case that both the Tiger Forces Division and the Republican Guard are involved. Residents came out in their thousands this week for the first time, from the southern pocket around Hammouriyeh town. Men, women, and children crossed the front by foot along a dirt road, staggering under the weight of bags and suitcases, footage on state TV showed. Children and elderly people are dying of malnutrition and lack of medication.

The United Nations has said the exact number of people fleeing is not known nor are the destinations of all evacuees.

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Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that some 3,000 people have been leaving every hour Saturday through a government-run humanitarian corridor monitored by the Russian military.

Regime forces captured Hammourieh on Thursday, one of Eastern Ghouta's towns.

"As long as rockets continue to fall on Eastern Ghouta and Damascus, as fighting continues in Afrin, as millions remain displaced, the ICRC is calling for ...

[On Thursday] around 11,000 people left Eastern Ghouta." .

Turkey launched an offensive against the YPG on January 20 to clear Afrin.

An army officer in charge of arrivals in Adra said authorities had dispersed 25,000 people in recent days across temporary shelters there and in two nearby towns.

The Observatory said that almost 200,000 people have fled the region of Afrin over the past days and entered government-controlled areas nearby, adding that 11 people were killed Saturday when a shell hit a truck carrying fleeing people. 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.

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