Syria Rebels Open To UN-backed Talks With Russia On Ghouta

Syrian army gives Takfiri militants in Harasta ultiamatum to withdraw by mid-afternoon

A wounded man is carried following an air strike on the rebel-held besieged town of Arbin, in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on January 2, 2018.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement Friday that he was "deeply concerned by the desperation shown by the people fleeing in a massive exodus from Eastern Ghouta and Afrin".

Thousands of people were fleeing from besieged enclaves on opposite ends of Syria as two battles in the multi-sided war entered decisive phases, with civilians trapped in the path of both assaults.

Earlier this week, smaller groups of sick and wounded people were evacuated from another zone further north, under a deal the Jaish al-Islam rebel faction that controls it and Russian Federation.

Speaking about the capture of Kafr Batna, al-Shami of the Syrian Civil Defense said people "fled in the streets not knowing in which direction to go".

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 30 people were killed in the strikes on the eastern Ghouta's Zamalka town that hit a group of people who were trying to flee into regime-controlled areas.

The intensity of the shelling and airstrikes have made it nearly impossible for ambulances to move and wounded people can not reach clinics, said Hamza Hassan, a surgeon working at one of the hospitals in eastern Ghouta. "They said now we were within the state's embrace", he recalled. Soldiers were seen in the footage, but there were no signs of local or global aid groups.

Deputy UN spokesman Farhan Aziz Haq said they were trying to assess the needs of shelters, including the Dwier collective centre manned by Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers.

"The last few days inside had become so harsh that his family ate their cow's food, he said."(Now) they eat every hour". Last month, the Syrian government kicked off a campaign to liberate the area. They have accused the factions of preventing residents from leaving, which the fighters deny.

The offensive has been carried out with the support of Russian Federation and in defiance of a United Nations call for a ceasefire.

The Syrian army says the armed forces have captured and cleared dozens of villages, towns and farms east of the capital Damascus consisting of about 70 percent of eastern Ghouta.

In a briefing to the UN Security Council on Friday, Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy for Syria, described the situation in Afrin as "particularly worrying", citing reports of tens of thousands of people displaced and civilian casualties.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

9 over 8 and ACC over SEC: Florida State beats Mizzou
The Tigers pulled to 52-44 on a pair of free throws by Porter as Missouri opened the second half by outscoring Florida State 24-8. Jordan Frericks had two early blocked shots to help the Tigers establish their defense in the paint and on the perimeter.

Texas A&M takes down defending champ North Carolina at NCAA Tournament
Theo Pinson (left) and Kenny Williams (right) led the way as UNC rolled past Lipscomb in the second half on Friday. The Tar Heels led 20-13 early only to see the Aggies go on 15-0 run to change the entire dynamic of the game.

Indian Wells crown surreal for Osaka
Japan's Osaka, ranked a lowly 44th in the world, thrashed Romania's below par world number one Halep 6-3, 6-4 in just 64 minutes. Interestingly, this was the Japanese's first singles title of any kind, and she has not triumphed on the ITF level either.

Pakistan terrorist's body recovered from Khanmoh encounter site
The injured policeman was rushed to a hospital, where his condition was stated to be stable, the official said. The doctors attending on Ahmed said he received a minor injury in the shootout and is out of danger.

Ohio State prevents South Dakota State's bid for tourney upset
The Bulldogs are 25th in the NCAA with 5.0 steals allowed per game while the Buckeyes are 31st with 5.1 steals allowed per game. Obviously, they completely man-handled us I think it was a 27-point blowout it wasn't even close, it felt worse than that.

Ibe Scores As Bournemouth Edge Out West Brom; Everton, Palace Win
Cenk Tosun's double pushed Stoke deeper into the relegation mire as Everton won 2-1 at the bet365 Stadium . The visitors were leading until the 77th minute through Jay Rodriguez's finish early in the second half.

Trump Signs Taiwan Travel Act, Earns Rap from Beijing
Stanley Kao (高碩泰), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., said he is looking forward to more interaction between the two countries. The action came despite China warning that the Taiwan Travel Act would severely damage relations between Washington and Beijing.

Trump welcomed refusal of wind farm
Clearly his version of events in his jokey format yesterday does not tally with what his office clarified to be the case last night", he said.

Chung Hyeon Advances to Quarterfinals of BNP Paribas Open
He dominated Cuevas to take a 6-1, 5-0 lead, before the Uruguayan, ranked 34th, battled back to break Chung twice and make it 5-3. Federer is chasing a record sixth title in the desert. " Just playing really fast and good serve , good baseline", he said.

Plastic particles found in 'brand after brand' of bottled water study
The analysis was performed by Professor of Chemistry Sherri Mason and her team at her lab at the State University of NY . Mason points out people can choose to not buy water in a plastic bottle , and to carry a refillable bottle instead.

Spanish Consumer Price Index Rises In February
Consumer prices increased at a modest pace in February, underscoring that inflation pressures appear to be muted for now. What happened: The rise in the cost of living last month was largely the result of higher rent and home prices.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince: If Iran develops nuclear bomb, so will we
Trump on Tuesday nominated Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo as the next secretary of state. Saudi Arabia will develop a nuclear bomb if Iran does so, says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman .

Colts' chances for Saquon Barkley improve after Browns sign Carlos Hyde
In four National Football League seasons, Mitchell has 11 starts, including nine last season when he had four interceptions. Hyde, 27, is the initial answer to the loss of Isaiah Crowell , who agreed to terms on a three-year deal on Tuesday night.

Six killed in Raiwind explosion claimed by Tehreek-e-Taliban
Haider Ashraf, Lahore police chief, said that evidence collected from the scene suggested it was a suicide attack. Security has been tightened following the attack and all exit and entry points to the vicinity have been secured.

BEHAR'S REGRET: Joy Behar FINALLY Apologizes After MOCKING Millions of Christians
The next day a somber Pence responded that such an attack on Christian prayer "was just wrong". "She called me. He said he told her that it was also important to apologize to all that were upset by what she said.

Other news