Syria Daily: Civilians Pay Price Amid Fighting in East Ghouta

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Claimed image of a pro-Assad airstrike on East Ghouta near Damasscus, January 1, 2018

Pro-Assad forces have continued bombing and shelling of civilian areas in East Ghouta near Syria’s capital Damascus, amid a fight for a regime base that is the source of some of the attacks.

Despite a de-escalation zone agreed between Russia and rebels this summer, the Assad regime and its allies have continued assaults on East Ghouta, with almost 400,000 residents, as well as tightening a four-year siege bringing malnutrition and death from medical conditions.

The attacks were briefly limited last week as the regime finally allowed the transfer of 29 seriously ill people, including children, between last Tuesday and Friday; however, they were immediately resumed, killing at least 17 people.

The bombing and shelling was particularly heavy in Harasta, near the regime’s Vehicle Base.

Rebels tried this autumn to curb the base’s activities, briefly entering the complex, and they attacked again over the weekend.

A pro-Assad account said this morning that “more than 47” regime troops and militiamen have been killed. He reported airstrikes by at least four regime warplanes on Harasta and Irbin in retaliation.

The pro-Assad propaganda site Al-Masdar has acknowledged the “terrible losses”, while falsely claimly that the attack is led by “Al Qa’eda”.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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