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Syrian Government Forces 'Seize Quarter Of Ghouta'

Syrian Government Forces 'Seize Quarter Of Ghouta'

In a voice message, the group's military spokesman, Hamza Birqdar, vowed government forces would be driven from the territory they had captured in the eastern Ghouta, the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus.

Members of the Syrian Civil Defense group and civilians gathered to help survivors from a street attacked by airstrikes and shelling by Syrian government forces in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria.

Syria's military claimed about 25 percent of the Damascus suburb, monitors for the United Kingdom -based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"They agreed it was a humanitarian catastrophe, and that the overwhelming responsibility for the heart-breaking human suffering lay with the Syrian regime and Russian Federation, as the regime's main backer", May's office said.

Russian Federation has accused the rebels of preventing civilians from leaving, allegations denied by the insurgents.

Almost 600 people have been reported killed and more than 2,000 injured in air and ground-based strikes since February 18, United Nations regional humanitarian co-ordinator Panos Moumtzis said, noting that mortar shells fired from the rebel-held enclave into the capital Damascus had killed and injured scores of civilians.

The rebels say the humanitarian corridor is part of government efforts to forcibly displace the population, and have called on government forces to implement a full ceasefire adopted by the U.N. Security Council.

The U.N. said it would deliver humanitarian aid to the Eastern Ghouta enclave on Monday.

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Eastern Ghouta is one of the last major rebel-held areas of the country, which has been ravaged by civil war for nearly seven years.

The UN's regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis, sounded the alarm over the increased violence.

"Instead of a much needed reprieve, we continue to see more fighting, more death, and more disturbing reports of hunger and hospitals being bombed", Moumtzis said in a statement Sunday.

"This collective punishment of civilians is simply unacceptable".

Syria's Army has advanced on several fronts in Eastern Ghouta, a military source told state media on Sunday.

Regime forces are thrusting into the besieged rebel enclave from its eastern edge in an apparent bid to split it in two - a pattern of attack used repeatedly by Damascus and its allies in the war entering its eighth year.

Turkey's army said on Sunday it captured seven settlements including the town of Sheikh Hadid.

"We will continue to fight terrorism".