Eastern Ghouta's rebels agree to evacuate imprisoned Nusra fighters

Syrian forces attacking eastern Ghouta 'have surrounded rebels in Douma'

Syrian forces attacking eastern Ghouta 'have surrounded rebels in Douma'

Last month the Syrian government committed itself to reclaiming Eastern Ghouta, reportedly leaving more than 900 civilians dead.

Live footage it said was filmed in Mesraba showed battered buildings and bullet-pocked walls. In mid-February, President Bashar al-Assad's government stepped up its assault on the area.

Insurgent groups in eastern Ghouta deny this, but a Reuters witness on Friday saw gunfire and mortar fire from inside the rebel territory near one of the crossing points.

"The death toll has gone up to 1,002 civilians, after eight people were killed today in Harasta and Arbin", said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "So Ghouta will gain by finishing with these people".

"We are not cooperating with the UNHRC as it is politicized and propagating the policy of western states targeting Syria", Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told reporters.

At least 20 civilians - including four children - were killed in Douma on Saturday, in addition to 17 civilians in other battlefront towns, said the Observatory.

Almost half of the food aid could not be delivered while the United Nations said Syrian authorities removed some medical and health supplies from the trucks.

Chaos at Sydney Airport this morning has left hundreds stranded
The T3 Qantas Domestic terminal is apparently not affected. "And of course security and safety is a top priority". Virgin Australia said that "due to a technical issue" passengers were being processed at reduced capacity.

It was the second convoy in one week, after deliveries on Monday were interrupted by heavy bombardment.

The limited operation came as the powerful Jaish al-Islam said HTS fighters would be evacuated to the northern province of Idlib, in an arrangement struck following consultations with the United Nations and other worldwide players.

The advance would effectively split the region into three parts.

Damascus and Moscow accuse the insurgents of shooting at civilians to prevent them fleeing the fighting into government areas.

Regime forces have advanced rapidly through farmland in the enclave since last week, according to the Observatory, taking control of more than half of the territory from the armed opposition.

In January, Turkey began an offensive to oust the Kurdish YPG militia from the Afrin region in northern Syria, near the Turkish border.

Elsewhere in Syria, the White Helmets rescue force suffered its first female fatality on Saturday, after air strikes hit a rebel-held town in Idlib province.

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