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Food aid finally reaches Eastern Ghouta amid mass exodus

Food aid finally reaches Eastern Ghouta amid mass exodus

They were seen fleeing on foot, in cars and on motorcycles via the town of Hamouria, where the Syrian army had opened a corridor after a late-night advance. It has laid waste to swathes of Syria, helped the rise of Daesh, fed sectarianism, and seen the deadliest use of chemical weapons since the 1980s in a war that has killed at least half a million people.

The Syrian army retook control of Hamouriyeh on Thursday after the rebel faction Faylaq al-Sham retreated from the town, according to the Britain-based Observatory.

The convoy contained 5,220 ICRC food parcels and 5,220 World Food Programme flour bags, Jaquemet said.

"This is just a little of what these families need", the ICRC in Syria said in a tweet.

Last Friday, a 13-truck convoy entered Douma to deliver aid.

The Syrian government has been trying to capture eastern Ghouta, the last big opposition-held area near Damascus, in a fierce offensive that began in mid-February.

What was the Syrian opposition's largest piece of territory near the capital Damascus has been split into three encircled pockets by a government offensive that began almost a month ago.

That brought to 1,249 the total number of civilians - including 252 children - killed in the government's assault on Ghouta.

Eastern Ghouta fell to the militants in 2012, months after Syria plunged into crisis, and has since served as a launch pad for fatal mortar attacks against the residents and infrastructure of the Syrian capital.

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Russian Federation has provided few details of its involvement in the offensive on Ghouta but Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday left no doubt Moscow's forces were taking an active part.

The UN humanitarian agencies have sounded the alarm about the worsening humanitarian situation for 400,000 people in that region, where activists said over 1,000 people have been killed since late last month by the heavy bombardment and military showdown in areas of Eastern Ghouta.

Syria's lacerating conflict entered its eighth year on Thursday with the country riven by worldwide power struggles. A tragedy for Syria.

The announcement follows US President Donald Trump's call to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.

Ankara, which launched a border security mission to clear the enclave of Afrin from the YPG and Daesh on January 20, vowed on Wednesday that its encirclement of the main city "will have been completed by the evening", a Turkish presidency source said. The operation came as a response to the United States announcement that it had been training a 30,000-strong border security force in Syria, comprised of the Syrian Kurds' People's Protection Units (YPG), which is considered by Turkey to be affiliated with the Kurdistan's Workers' Party (PKK), regarded by Ankara as a terrorist organization.

On Thursday, Ankara said it would flush out the Kurdish militia from the centre of Afrin "in a very short time", as pro-Turkey forces surrounded the city.

"The circle is closing in around the terrorists".

"We must find a way to lessen the suffering", Maurer said in the statement.