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Syria continues Ghouta assault

DOUMA, Syria (AFP) – Syrian regime forces continued their offensive against Eastern Ghouta yesterday, a day after they cut off the rebel-held enclave’s largest town, pressing on with a 20-day assault that has left more than 1,000 civilians dead.

Government troops and allied militia launched their military campaign for Eastern Ghouta on Feb. 18 and have since overrun more than half of the area, defying global calls for a halt to the violence.

The assault has followed a divide-and-conquer strategy, eating away at rebel-held territory, and government forces on Saturday successfully isolated Ghouta’s main town of Douma in a blow for the beleaguered rebels.

Regime fighters cut off a road linking Douma with the town of Harasta further west and also captured the town of Misraba, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Regime forces have therefore divided Eastern Ghouta into three parts – Douma and its surroundings, Harasta in the west, and the rest of the towns further south,” the Britain-based monitor said.

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