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Syria Controls Half of Eastern Ghouta, Airstrikes Kill 45 More Civilians

Syria Controls Half of Eastern Ghouta, Airstrikes Kill 45 More Civilians

At least 800 civilians have been killed since the offensive started February 18, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights monitoring group.

The campaign has so far left at least 867 civilians dead, including dozens of children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In an interview on state TV, a Syrian army colonel expressed confidence that Ghouta would fall quickly, saying the people there would return to the "state's embrace. very, very, very soon".

In rapid advances overnight, troops and allied militiamen seized more than half of the area, including a stretch of farmland, isolating the northern and southern parts of the rebel-held territory, cutting links between the rebels and further squeezing opposition fighters and tens of thousands of civilians trapped inside, state media and a war monitor reported.

AFP's correspondent in the town of Hammuriyeh saw motionless bodies lying in the streets on Thursday after a night of ferocious bombing. A wounded woman could be seen stuck under the rubble of a collapsed building.

Abdulmonam Eassa's photo of an injured boy arriving at hospital in Eastern Ghouta.

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In New York, the UN Security Council will again gather to discuss the failure of a ceasefire it had demanded last week.

About 100 people were killed Monday in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, making it the deadliest day there since the United Nations Security Council passed a nationwide ceasefire resolution on February 24, the Syrian American Medical Society said Tuesday in a statement.

Russian Federation has offered rebels and their families safe passage out of Eastern Ghouta, promising to protect insurgents from prosecution, Russia's Defense Ministry said Tuesday in a Facebook post. Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the Syrian regime and its foreign allies were already planning their next "apocalypse".

Government troops have imposed a siege on Eastern Ghouta since 2013, and deliveries of food and medicine to the zone require permission from all warring sides.

Forty-six aid trucks entered the area on Monday for the first time since the offensive, but had to cut short their deliveries and leave due to heavy bombardment.

France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre, who called Wednesday's meeting with Britain, pointed to Syrian government interference with a U.N. convoy it authorized to deliver aid to a town in eastern Ghouta. Around 400,000 people are believed to be trapped in eastern Ghouta.

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By slicing the territory, the Syrian government succeeds in further squeezing rebels, making it more hard for them to continue to hang on to the territory.

No Syrian civilians are known to have used the "corridor".

A rebel commander from the Turkey-backed Faylaq al-Sham group told an AFP reporter in Jandairis the town was under full control.

"There is no communication with the Russians, directly or indirectly", said Wael Alwan, spokesman for Faylaq al-Rahman.

Syria's war has killed more than 340,000 people and displaced millions since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

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