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Aid convoys delayed, regime offensive continues in Eastern Ghouta Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

Aid convoys delayed, regime offensive continues in Eastern Ghouta

Airstrikes have continued to intensify in Eastern Ghouta [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 March, 2018

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Aid deliveries were delayed to Eastern Ghouta as the regime intensifies its offensive in the rebel-held enclave.

A second aid convoy destined for Eastern Ghouta has been delayed due to ongoing violence in the besieged rebel-held Damascus enclave, agencies reported.

Regime forces have intensified their offensive under the cover of airstrikes.

“The situation is evolving rapidly on the ground, which doesn’t allow us to carry out the operation in such conditions,” said Ingy Sekdy, the ICRC’s spokeswoman in Syria.

On Monday, the first convoy in weeks made it into Eastern Ghouta, but 14 of the 46 trucks were not able to fully offload their aid supplies due to increased violence.

The regime also reportedly stripped medical equipment from some of the convoys that arrived earlier this week.

The Syrian regime’s continued onslaught, backed by Russian warplanes, has prompted the UN Security Council to reiterate its call for the implementation of its 24 February resolution calling for a country-wide 30-day ceasefire.

To date, the regime’s campaign in Eastern Ghouta has left at least 867 civilians dead since it began on 18 February, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The regime has recaptured about half of the towns and villages in the Damascus suburb since beginning the offensive last month.

On Wednesday, regime forces recaptured Beit Sawa, Al-Ashaari and nearby farmland after hundreds of Afghan, Palestinian and Syrian loyalist militiamen arrived in Eastern Ghouta to bolster regime forces.

In addition, at least 60 people were left struggling to breathe after airstrikes hit the towns of Saqba and Hammourieh. At least 29 patients showed signs of exposure to chlorine, according to the Syrian American Medical Society.

UN investigators say regime forces used chlorine at least three times between 2014 and 2015 and sarin gas once in 2016.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said the regime and its allies were already planning their next “apocalypse”.

UN Secretary Antonio Guterres had previously urged all sides to allow aid trucks to return for a planned second delivery to the Douma area of Eastern Ghouta.

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