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Syrian regime captures 'one third' of besieged Eastern Ghouta Open in fullscreen

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Syrian regime captures 'one third' of besieged Eastern Ghouta

Regime airstrikes have killed more than 700 civilians in two weeks. [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 March, 2018

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The regime intensified its airstrikes on the enclave last month with an assault that has left more than 700 civilians dead in two weeks.

The Syrian regime and allied militias have now retaken a third of the besieged rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta as Bashar al-Assad vowed to press on with a military assault.

"Regime forces now control 33 percent, or a third, of besieged Eastern Ghouta," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor, said.

"Regime forces are advancing at a high pace because operations so far are mostly conducted in farmland," said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Observatory.

Syria's military media said troops are continuing their advance from the east and are only three kilometres from meeting troops advancing from the west, which would achieve the partitioning of Eastern Ghouta into two parts.

Pro-regime forces were two kilometres south-east of Douma, the main town in Eastern Ghouta, a semi-rural area that lies within mortar range of central Damascus.

Monday's announcement comes a day after regime forces recaptured control over the town of Nashabiyah and a number of villages and farms in Eastern Ghouta in the largest advances since the Syrian regime wide-scale operation began last month.

Assad's regime lost control of Eastern Ghouta in 2012 and has besieged the area ever since, leading to chronic food and medicine shortages which have brought its 400,000 residents to the brink of starvation.

Assad vowed on Sunday his forces would continue the latest campaign until the whole area is retaken.

The regime intensified its airstrikes on the enclave last month and on 18 February further ramped up its campaign, with an assault that has left more than 700 civilians dead in two weeks.

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