U.S. pushes United Nations to demand truce in Syria's east Ghouta, Damascus

U.S. pushes United Nations to demand truce in Syria's east Ghouta, Damascus

Mattis also criticised the Russian government's support for the Syrian regime and accused Moscow of being involved in chemical attacks on civilians in Syria.

She recalled the US warning after last year's sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, which an expert panel blamed on President Bashar Assad's government, that it would take action if the council didn't.

"The center also held talks with the leadership of a number of settlements in Eastern Ghouta on ensuring civilians' access to medical care and humanitarian aid".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said on Monday about 511,000 people had been killed in the Syrian war since it began seven years ago.

"Russia is determined to allow the withdrawal of al-Nusra Front fighters from Ghouta and to reinforce the ceasefire, while the Syrian regime, backed by Iranian militias, opts for the military solution as a means to establish control over the besieged areas", the source said.

Across eastern Ghouta heavy aerial strikes continued on the towns of Irbeen, Harasta and other residential areas on Monday, state media said.

The Russian military said late on Sunday that 52 civilians, including 26 children, had been evacuated from the town of Misraba, according to Reuters.

By mid-morning, warplanes were buzzing overhead.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

More news: Afghan official says Taliban attack kills 15 security forces

French President Emmanuel Macron says France is the most active country in the diplomatic field regarding Syria, after his predecessor called for no-fly zones. Twice as many children were killed in the war in 2017 than in the previous year, the United Nations children's agency UNICEF said in a report.

About 85 percent of the dead were civilians killed by the forces of the Syrian government and its allies, the Observatory said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 11 million made homeless in Syria's multi-sided civil war.

Government forces have focussed their efforts on eastern Ghouta since mid-February, launching one of the fiercest campaigns of the war now entering its eighth year.

Jaish al-Islam, one of the main rebel groups in eastern Ghouta, said on Monday it had reached an agreement with the government's ally Russian Federation to evacuate wounded people.

A similar deal has been put forward for parts of Eastern Ghouta, including the town of Hammuriyeh, a negotiator and the Observatory told AFP.

Douma residents said dozens of people were trapped alive under rubble, with rescuers unable to reach them due to the intensity of the raids.

Mr Guterres said the United Nations had offered to facilitate talks between the Syrian government, Russian officials and representatives of the three main rebel groups in the Eastern Ghouta - Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman and Ahrar al-Sham.

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