Assad visits troops in battle-scarred eastern Ghouta

More than 12,000 Syrians have left the Eastern Ghouta region since last month

More than 12,000 Syrians have left the Eastern Ghouta region since last month

The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said in a statement on Thursday at least 20,000 people have left Eastern Ghouta in the past week, the majority of which came from the southern pocket through the Hammouriyeh area.

Meanwhile the main rebel group in the southern pocket of Syria's opposition-held eastern Ghouta said on Sunday it was negotiating with a United Nations delegation about a ceasefire, aid and the evacuation of urgent medical cases.

On Feb.18, Syrian and allied forces intensified their air campaign on Eastern Ghouta, launching a ground offensive to retake the last opposition bastion near Damascus a week later.

Air strikes on eastern Ghouta killed over 30 civilians on Saturday, a monitor said, nearly a month into a blistering Russia-backed regime assault on the Syrian rebel enclave outside Damascus.

But a general evacuation of civilians and rebels was not on the table, he said.

The weekslong violence in eastern Ghouta has left about 1,400 civilians dead and more than 5,000 wounded.

The Roots' SXSW Concert Cancelled Due to 'Security Concern'
Black Thought, Questlove , and their group-mates had announced " The Roots & Friends" at Austin, Texas' Fair Market . The Roots' scheduled concert at SXSW was canceled on Saturday due to a bomb threat in the Austin area.

"In the line of fire in eastern Ghouta".

The UK-based war monitoring group said the strikes on Zamalka town also injured dozens.

The Observatory said air strikes in eastern Ghouta killed 80 people, including 14 children, in the towns of Kafr Batna, Saqba and Harasta on Friday.

The Syrian government, backed by its allies Iran and Russian Federation, is determined to retake control of the region just outside Damascus, after seven years of war and bloodletting that has killed around 450,000 people and displaced millions.

The eastern Ghouta region was one of the hubs of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in 2011 and was quickly targeted for siege, mass arrests, and extrajudicial killings by security forces.

Speaking at the outset of the talks Friday Lavrov said that "millions of Syrians are looking in the direction of Astana" as the three power brokers work towards an end to the conflict.

Latest News