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Assad vows to continue Ghouta assault as Syria troops advance

Sunday - 04/03/2018 20:58
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday his forces must push on with their campaign to retake the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta from rebels, despite mounting international calls to end the bloodshed.
Stringer, AFP | Smoke rises from the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the Syrian capital following fresh air strikes and rocket fire on February 27, 2018.
Stringer, AFP | Smoke rises from the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the Syrian capital following fresh air strikes and rocket fire on February 27, 2018.

 

Assad's forces have seized over a quarter of the enclave on Damascus's eastern edges after two weeks of devastating bombardment, according to a war monitor.

As the United States, Britain and France stepped up pressure on Damascus and Moscow to call off the assault, the United Nations said it plans to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to Eastern Ghouta's residents.

"The majority (of people) in Eastern Ghouta want to escape the embrace of terrorism. The operation must continue," Assad told journalists in remarks broadcast on state television.

Regime backer Russia last week announced daily five-hour "humanitarian pauses" in Eastern Ghouta. But while the air campaign has eased, fighting has intensified on the ground.

Assad said civilians would still have "the possibility" to evacuate the enclave, while denying there was any contradiction between a truce and ongoing fighting.


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 Key: Ghouta, Syria

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