Rebels shoot dead protester in Syria's Ghouta: monitor

The city of Raqqa in Syria has been reduced to rubble

The city of Raqqa in Syria has been reduced to rubble

The town's opposition-controlled authorities said on Monday the situation there had become "catastrophic", with no more room below ground for civilians to hide.

At least 70 people were buried in a public park in Douma as the aerial strikes made it hard to reach the main burial grounds on the outskirts of the city.

Kafr Batna is one of several areas in the besieged enclave where talks are ongoing between local dignitaries and the regime on a possible evacuation to other areas of the country under rebel control.

TAn AFP correspondent in Douma said the morning was relatively quiet in the town, allowing civilians to venture out of bomb shelters to check on the destruction in their homes or gather food. It is not even safe to put chickens in.

"There should be only one agenda for all of us: to end the suffering of the Syrian people and find a political solution to the conflict". He declined to give his name for fear of reprisals if the army retakes the area.

A rebel source said some of the targets hit in the raids were close to a front line in northern Deraa close to a major Syrian army garrison near the government-held town of Izra.

The largest rebel group in eastern Ghouta, the Army of Islam, said it had reached an agreement with government-allied Russian forces to evacuate the wounded from the enclave.

The assault on Ghouta is one of the heaviest in the war, which enters its eighth year this week.

Jaysh al-Islam said the evacuations would take place in stages, but it did not say when they would begin.

The monitor, which tracks death tolls using a network of contacts inside Syria, said about 85 percent of the dead had been killed by government forces and their allies.

Syria's conflict broke out in March 2011 with peaceful protests against Assad, but a regime crackdown paved the way for a fully-fledged war.

As the Syrian army pushes deeper into Eastern Ghouta under cover of a hammering bombardment, the 400,000 civilians the United Nations says live in the enclave have been crowded in dark basements to cower from the ceaseless bombing.

One of the main Syrian rebel groups in the besieged eastern Ghouta area says it has reached an agreement with Russian Federation to evacuate wounded people from the region on the outskirts of Damascus.

According to the United Nations agency, an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to explosive hazards across the war-torn country. "The majority of them are women and children", said Linda Tom, from the UN's humanitarian coordination office (OCHA) in Damascus. The United Nations has warned of dire shortages of food and medicine, where worldwide deliveries have always been erratic and often obstructed before they could reach the enclave. The expulsion of the rebels from eastern Ghouta would represent their biggest defeat since they lost their enclave in Aleppo in December 2016.

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