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Over 900 Civilians Killed as Syrian Forces Continue Offensive against Eastern Ghouta

Syrian military forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have continued their offensive against rebel forces in eastern Ghouta.

The Syrian Army is poised to cut the city in two as troops advancing from the east link up with those from the west. According to the United Kingdom based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, forces loyal to Assad have killed 909 civilians in the last 18 days. The rebels trapped in eastern Ghouta have accused the Syrian government of “scorched earth” tactics. Furthermore, the Syrian Army has been accused of using chlorine gas during the campaign and reports on social media claim that they have also used napalm and cluster bombs.

An aid convoy destined for the enclave was postponed Thursday. Although one aid convoy entered earlier in the week, the medical supplies were confiscated by the regime and the remaining supplies and food were able to be delivered properly due to the ongoing fighting in the area.

A statement released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance said: “The UN continues to receive reports of escalating fighting in eastern Ghouta and shelling on Damascus. We continue to call on all parties to immediately allow safe and unimpeded access for further convoys to deliver critical supplies.”

Russia, has offered rebels safe passage out of the enclave with their families and personal weapons. The proposal echoes previous agreements under which insurgents, in the face of military defeat, were permitted to withdraw to opposition-held areas along the Turkish border. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday some rebels wanted to accept the proposal to evacuate, while the rebels have dismissed it in public and vowed to fight on.

(via BICOM)

[Photo: BICOM]