Syria war: United Nations aid convoy re-enters Eastern Ghouta amid 'calm'

by Abel Hampton March 11, 2018, 0:58
Syria war: United Nations aid convoy re-enters Eastern Ghouta amid 'calm'

People are seen with their belongings in the besieged town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria March 8, 2018.

Image copyright AFP/SANA Image caption Syrian state media showed what it described as rebel fighters being evacuated from Eastern Ghouta What else is happening in Syria?

"If I thought about leaving Ghouta I would worry about the regime because there are no guarantees: and, second, I would worry about Jaish al-Islam, because they won't let us leave", said one activist in Douma.

According to the report, the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad is responsible for the use of sarin in the Khan Sheikhoun incident, while Daesh* is responsible for the use of sulfur mustard in Umm Hawsh.

An aid convoy crossed into the embattled rebel-held suburbs of Damascus Friday, delivering desperately needed aid despite heavy fighting that broke out "extremely close" to the convoy and renewed airstrikes by the Syrian government.

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said troops reached the centre of the town of Misraba, adding that opposition fighters are crumbling amid the offensive.

It said the initiative was "based on consultations between Jaish al-Islam and the United Nations, and a number of global actors".

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.

During rebel infighting in the enclave, analysts and some residents say, the Army of Islam's main rival, Faylaq Al Rahman, has sometimes formed opportunistic alliances with H.T.S.

Bilal Abu Salah, a resident of Douma, said shortages were causing great hardship. The district is besieged by Syrian government forces. A Reuters reporter said there was small arms and mortar fire from rebel areas on the al-Wafideen crossing on Friday.

However, the terror of the bombardment and the desperate living conditions are taking their toll and may push people to fearless the fighting and flee.

On Thursday, a United Nations commission of inquiry released a report accusing the Assad regime of committing war crimes in eastern Ghouta, including the use of chemical weapons against civilians, causing mass starvation and preventing medical evacuations.

"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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