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22:15, 20 March 2018 Tuesday
09:50, 07 March 2018 Wednesday

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Erdogan, Putin discuss besieged East Ghouta over phone
Erdogan, Putin discuss besieged East Ghouta over phone

Delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians and ending disaster in Syria's Eastern Ghouta termed 'essential'

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone about the ongoing human tragedy in Eastern Ghouta and other developments in Syria late Tuesday, according to diplomatic sources.

During the conversation, the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians and ending the disaster in the besieged enclave were termed as "essential".

Additionally, in accordance with the UN Security Council's decision, Turkish, Russian and Iranian joint efforts were termed crucial to fully implement a truce in Eastern Ghouta.

At least 10 civilians have been killed in several attacks by Syrian regime forces in Eastern Ghouta, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency late Tuesday.

Ground attacks and airstrikes targeted Eastern Ghouta's Duma and Haresta districts and the Sakba, Ayn Terma, Arbin, Hammuriye, Beit Sava, Jisrin, Hizze and Merc regions.

The attacks killed four civilians in Arbin, three in Jisrin, two in Ayn Terma and one in Beit Sava.

In a statement, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary General Antonio Guterres "is concerned about continued reports of attacks throughout the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta which reportedly claimed the lives of more than 100 people on 5 March, as well as reports of shelling of the city of Damascus".

Dujarric noted that a humanitarian aid convoy operated by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross was forced to abandon its delivery in Eastern Ghouta's Douma "because of insecurity".

"Moreover, a part of the medical and health supplies to be included for delivery was removed by the Syrian authorities," Dujarric said. 

Guterres "calls on all parties to immediately allow safe and unimpeded access for further convoys to deliver critical supplies to hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need, in particular to complete the delivery to Douma, including medical and health supplies, planned for 8 March, in order to reach a total of 70,000 people, as previously agreed with the Syrian authorities," Dujarric added.

Between Feb. 19 and March 5, a total of 824 civilians were killed in ground and aerial attacks on Eastern Ghouta, according to local civil defense sources.

The regime has continued to conduct ground and air attacks in Eastern Ghouta despite separate ceasefire initiatives endorsed by Russia and the UN Security Council.

Home to some 400,000 people, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling siege by the Bashar al-Assad regime for the last five years.

Within the last eight months, regime forces have stepped up their siege, making it nearly impossible for food or medicine to enter the district and leaving thousands of people in need of medical treatment.

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