Syria regime 'agrees' to Eastern Ghouta ceasefire after days of heavy shelling

Syria regime 'agrees' to Eastern Ghouta ceasefire after days of heavy shelling

People gather at a damaged site after an airstrike in the rebel-held besieged town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, November 27, 2017.

Rebels in Eastern Ghouta have held out against government forces throughout the almost seven years of the country's civil war.

Eastern Ghouta is part of the four de-escalation zones in Syria which were negotiated by the Russian, Iranian and Turkish governments in May.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring body, said 18 people were killed by bombing on Monday and 23 on Sunday.

"The toll could rise further because of the number of wounded people in a serious condition", said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

French medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said yesterday the constant bombardment was resulting in "huge numbers of wounded, reduced medical capacity and creating a disaster for patients in need of treatment".

One medic, wearing thin, loose transparent plastic gloves usually used by grocers rather than standard medical-grade ones, wrapped gauze around the head of another boy whose face was red with blood.

Among them was a baby whose head was wrapped in a blood-stained bandage, as well as men and children who sat on the floor as they received first aid.

It has been under siege since 2013 but in recent weeks violence has increased considerably, with deadly government air strikes and artillery fire across the region, and rebel fire from the area into the capital.

Various Islamic rebel groups control Eastern Ghouta and the suburb has been surrounded by Syrian regime forces for more than four years.

In theory, residents in the area should be in a safe zone free from airstrikes, shelling and fighting.

"The Russians have proposed and the government has accepted a cease-fire in Eastern Ghouta".

Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, an estimated 400,000 civilians have been killed, according to the United Nations.



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