UPDATE 1545 GMT: One of the latest victims of the pro-Assad assault:


Pro-Assad killing of civilians eased in East Ghouta, near Syria’s capital Damascus, as a group of seriously ill people was evacuated for treatment on Tuesday after talks brokered by UN officials.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported “only” 23 people slain across Syria yesterday, following the intense assault by regime forces, foreign allies, and Russian warplanes that has killed more than 1,400 since early February and more than 1,100 in the last three weeks.

After months of refusing medical evacuations from the besieged enclave, the Assad regime agreed to the movement of 25 patients and their families on Tuesday, after an arrangement between the UN and leading rebel faction Jaish al-Islam. But pro-opposition outlets said the regime prevented Red Crescent buses from entering East Ghouta instead insisting that patients and their families make their way towards the regime checkpoint at the al-Wafideen crossing so regime TV could film their departure.

Apart from a group of 27 people moved in December, the regime had refused any transfer from East Ghouta to Damascus hospitals. Scores of civilians died awaiting treatment that could not be provided amid the five-year siege.

The medical situation has worsened amid the pro-Assad offensive, with at least 22 medical facilities damaged by bombing and shelling.

Enabled by the Russian airstrikes, the pro-Assad offensive has seized more than half of East Ghouta as it broke a de-escalation agreement, signed between Russia and rebels last July, and defied a UN call for a ceasefire. The enclave has been split into three parts, including a broken link between the key towns of Douma and Harasta.

Meanwhile, to the south of Damascus, the regime continued its consolidation of former opposition suburbs, removing a “first batch” of 1,000 people from al-Qadam, south of Damascus. The group was transferred to northern Hama Province.

An opposition source said the removal followed a 48-hour ultimatum for rebels and their families to leave or face an offensive similar to the attacks on East Ghouta.

Al-Qadam agreed a truce in 2014 and signed a capitulation agreement in September 2017.

Rebels Launch Offensive in Northern Hama Province

Trying to counter the pro-Assad assault on East Ghouta, rebels have launched an offensive in northern Hama Province in northwest Syria.

The Free Syrian Army announced the “Anger for Ghouta” campaign early Wednesday. Soon they declared the takeover of the
Hamamiyat checkpoint and nearby military installations (see map). There were heavy clashes in the town of Karnaz (see map), with claims of heavy casualties among pro-Assad troops and destruction of armored vehicles.

Karnaz has now reportedly been taken by the rebels, and the town of al-Mughayir (see map) is cut off and expected to fall soon.

The rebel attacks are taking advantage of the redeployment of regime militias from north Hama to the East Ghouta offensive.

Related Posts