USA pushes United Nations to demand truce in Syria's east Ghouta, Damascus

SEOUL SOUTH KOREA- OCTOBER 28 U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis attends the joint press conference after the 49th Security Consultative Meeting at Defense Ministry

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is warning Syria that the United States is prepared to take military action again for chemical attacks that are killing and wounding Syrian civilians.

Citing the United Kingdom-based monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Reuters said that Turkey-backed forces have reached the outskirts of the town of Afrin, and are poised to enter the town's center after advancing from the east under heavy shelling and gunfire.

This means that the territory of the Islamist rebels have been effectively separated into three, with Douma and Harasta cut off from each other, as well as from the rest of the towns located further south.

Smoke rises from the besieged Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria, February 27, 2018.

Thousands of families are sleeping in the open in the streets of the biggest town of Syria's rebel-held eastern Ghouta enclave, where there is no longer any room in packed cellars to shelter from government bombardment, local authorities said. In April, the USA carried out strikes against Syria after reports of a suspected gas attack in northern Syria.

Assad and his ally Russian Federation say the assault on eastern Ghouta is needed to end the rule of Islamist insurgents over the civilian population and to stop mortar fire on nearby Damascus.

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The U.N. secretary-general says attacks on the Damascus suburbs of eastern Ghouta have intensified since the adoption of a U.N. resolution demanding a cease-fire, with Syrian government forces driving rebels from more than 60 percent of the area. Douma is eastern Ghouta's largest settlement.

The civilians used a corridor established by the Syrian army amid the military's gains that have effectively divided eastern Ghouta into three parts.

Jaysh al-Islam said the evacuations would take place in stages, but it did not say when they would begin. Turkey launched a military offensive against the US -backed Syrian Kurdish militia known as YPG, to clear its fighters from the enclave of Afrin.

Last week, regime forces managed to seize Eastern Ghouta's strategic Misraba and Medyere neighborhoods, effectively cutting the district in two.

Syrian government forces split eastern Ghouta in two amid rapid weekend advances, dealing a major setback to the rebels and threatening to exacerbate an already dire humanitarian situation at the doorstep of the country's capital.

Home to some 400,000 people, Eastern Ghouta has remained the target of a crippling regime siege for the last five years.

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