Syrian jets hit south in first such attacks since truce - rebels

The city of Raqqa in Syria has been reduced to rubble

Last week, regime forces managed to seize Eastern Ghouta's strategic Misraba and Medyere neighborhoods, effectively cutting the district in two. "The parties discussed issues related to withdrawal of the Jabhat al Nusra formations from Eastern Ghouta to Idlib as well as further destiny of the Faylaq al-Rahman group's members", Zolotukhin said. In April, the US carried out strikes against Syria after reports of a suspected gas attack in northern Syria.

Despite a recent UN Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Syria, the regime and its allies on March 3 began a major ground operation - backed by Russian air power - aimed at decisively capturing Eastern Ghouta, an opposition-held suburb of Damascus.

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

The U.N. estimates almost 400,000 civilians are living under a crippling siege in eastern Ghouta.

"Again, either Russian Federation is incompetent or in cahoots with Assad", he said.

Backed by Russian Federation, the advance has battered Eastern Ghouta with air strikes, artillery and rocket fire, raising widespread global concern and prompting urgent calls for a ceasefire.

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One rebel commander said the strikes in the south appeared to be a warning to rebels under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) umbrella who were planning to wage an offensive in coming days to relieve pressure on their comrades in eastern Ghouta.

On 26 February, Russia, which backs the Syrian government, offered rebels safe passage out while ordering a daily "humanitarian pause" within the enclave and saying it was also guaranteeing civilians safe passage if they wanted to flee.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, put the total death toll in Syria's civil war since it erupted seven years ago at about 511,000 people.

It says the wounded will be evacuated in stages but makes no mention if they are rebel fighters or civilians. He blamed Russian Federation and Turkey for what he called "war crimes that are being committed in Afrin".

In the Ghouta offensive alone, at least 1,144 civilians have been killed, including 240 children, the Observatory said. Turkey launched a military offensive against the USA -backed Syrian Kurdish militia known as YPG, to clear its fighters from the enclave of Afrin.

Evacuations have taken place in other parts of Syria, where fighters and civilians have withdrawn to rebel territory near the Turkish border. Ankara considers the YPG a terror organization linked to its own Kurdish insurgency.