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Pro-Assad forces press deeper into Eastern Ghouta

Pro-Assad forces press deeper into Eastern Ghouta
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By Lesley Alexander
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The advance comes as local authorities in the besieged rebel enclave described the situation as 'catastrophic'

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As the aerial onslaught continues, Syrian military media footage has been released, purporting to show pro-government forces pushing deeper into Eastern Ghouta.

Rebels have lost over half the enclave they controlled near Damascus. The media outlet linked to Syria's army says that pro-government forces have now established a corridor through the besieged area.

They are said to have divided this last rebel bastion near the capital into three sectors -Douma, Harasta, and the Jobar region, each run by separate rebel factions.

The Civil Defence search and rescue group, known as the White Helmets, reports that there has been no let-up in the bombardment of residential neighbourhoods.

As the war enters its eighth year, a UK-based monitor said on Monday that the conflict has now claimed more than half a million lives.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks death tolls using a network of contacts inside Syria, said some 511,000 people had lost their lives since the war began.

It said around 85 percent of the dead were civilians killed by the forces of the Syrian government and its allies.

Families are sleeping in the streets, in Douma, with no room left in packed cellars to shelter from air strikes, local officials say.

A handful of civilians in Eastern Ghouta have been able to flee via a humanitarian corridor, leaving behind a situation authorities say is "catastrophic".

with Reuters

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