Syrian regime forces advance against rebels in Eastern Ghouta

Mattis warns Syria on chemical weapons, doubts Russian missile claims

Syrian state media also reported army advances near Jisreen and Aftaris in the southeastern part of the rebel-held territory.

Turkey has been battling the YPG in Afrin since January 20.

UNICEF said there were large numbers of civilian casualties reported.

Earlier on Monday, Jaish al-Islam, one of the main rebel groups in Syria's eastern Ghouta, said it had reached an agreement with the government's ally Russian Federation to evacuate wounded people from the besieged enclave near Damascus.

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

The Observatory, which tracks death tolls using a network of contacts inside Syria, said it had identified more than 350,000 of those killed, and the remainder were cases where it knew deaths had occurred but did not know the victims' names.

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

Rebel-held parts of Ghouta are under a crippling government siege that has made it hard for its estimated 400,000 residents to access food and medicine.

Short-handed K-State falls to KU in Big 12 Tournament semifinals
Can definitely make a run in the NCAA tournament, create a good chance for Zhaire Smith to turn some heads, rise up draft boards. Kansas State , meanwhile, was a No. 9 seed, and Thursday's win should lock it into a guaranteed spot. "We're a tournament team".

Syrian government forces have taken farmland and marched into towns, squeezing the pocket in the eastern suburbs of Damascus.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia hit back at the United States and its allies for "doing nothing but constantly blaming the Syrian regime and putting demands on Russia".

Jaish Al Islam, one of eastern Ghouta's main rebel groups, said on Monday it had reached an agreement with the government's ally Russian Federation to evacuate wounded people, after communicating with Moscow through the United Nations. The group also did not say when the evacuations would begin or where the wounded would be taken.

Syrian regime forces advanced against rebels in Eastern Ghouta and pounded two towns with air strikes on Monday (Mar 12), as they moved closer to retaking the opposition enclave on the edge of Damascus.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the United States circulated a draft resolution on Monday urging the Security Council to order a 30-day cease-fire in the Syrian capital and eastern Ghouta, expressing "outrage" at the lack of implementation of a resolution adopted February 24 calling for a cease-fire throughout Syria to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate the wounded and critically ill.

"I can say all the factions in the south are in a state of full readiness and alertness with all their equipment and fighting force", said Khaled al-Faraj, the commander of a rebel group operating in Quneitra province.

"I just want to reiterate it would be very unwise for them to use weaponised gas", CNN quoted Mattis as saying on Sunday while en route to Oman.

France is prepared to launch targeted strikes against any site in Syria used to deploy chemical attacks that result in the deaths of civilians, President Emmanuel Macron said. "The cease-fire has failed".

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