tinyfav.com April 21, 2018

Syrians in Douma 'suffocating' amid accusations of toxic gas use

08 April 2018, 01:10 | Myrtle Vega

Video Young man pulled from rubble in Douma

Douma eastern Ghouta

"After militants of Jaish al-Islam launched Saturday lethal mortar attacks on Damascus, the Syrian Army reportedly stormed the terrorists" front lines in the suburbs of Douma, Eastern Ghouta.

Backed by Russia, Syrian regime troops have captured almost all of the one-time opposition stronghold of Ghouta with a combination of ferocious bombing raids and negotiated withdrawals.

"The bombing has not stopped".

Almost 50 airstrikes on Douma as of Friday afternoon killed at least 32 people, including children, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In an apparent bid to pressure Jaish al-Islam - the Islamist group that holds the town - to withdraw, Syrias government yesterday resumed bombardment of the town after a more than week-long lull.

There are tens of thousands of people estimated to be living in Douma, according to Reuters.

The group appears to have little leverage however to face the regime's recovered might, and the latest strikes raised fears of a brutal end to the five-year-old siege of Eastern Ghouta. On Wednesday, 650 fighters and civilians escorted by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent left Douma and headed north toward the town of Jarablus, according to SANA and opposition activists.

Leading Jaish al-Islam commander Mohammed Alloush told AFP that the Syrian regime were to blame for the collapse of the talks.

"As a result of sharp contradictions among odious militants and those who were ready for negotiations, the former leaders of the group were physically eliminated", after which Jaysh al-Islam violated the agreements on withdrawal from Douma and cut off civilians from the humanitarian corridor, Yevtushenko said.

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At least eight civilians were killed in Saturday's bombardment of Douma, bringing to 48 the number of civilians who have been killed in the town since Friday, the Britain-based watchdog added. Jaish al-Islam's political official called for talks to spare civilian bloodshed.

"The talks were going well", he said, but power struggles between the regimes allies had caused them to break down.

"All of a sudden, with no warning, the shelling starts".

Moscow announced a deal with Jaish al-Islam last Sunday, ushering in three consecutive days of evacuations from Douma.

Syrian troops were matching their renewed bombing with a ground operation in the orchards surrounding Douma.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said dozens of people had been injured.

Army of Islam Military spokesman Hamza Bayraqdar told The Associated Press by text message, "the Russians are making humiliating demands that mean surrender and handing over the area".

The army, however, resumed airstrikes on militant positions in Douma on Friday after the last remaining militants there violated an evacuation deal and shelled civilian areas near Damascus on Saturday.

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