25 innocents killed in Syrian airstrikes

Assad regime and ally Russia halt evacuations from besieged district’s Duma neighborhood
EASTERN GHOUTA/ANKARA: Syria’s Assad regime and ally Russia halted evacuations from Eastern Ghouta’s Duma neighborhood on Friday amid fresh attacks on civilian areas, according to the White Helmets civil-defense agency.
According to civil-defense officials in Duma, regime and Russian warplanes carried out at least 35 airstrikes in the area on Friday, leaving at least 25 civilians dead.
Following a Russia-brokered agreement between the Assad regime and armed opposition groups, civilian evacuations began out of Eastern Ghouta on Mar. 22.
Evacuations from Eastern Ghouta’s Arbin, Zamalka and Ayn Tarma neighborhoods were conducted this week and last, but agreement has yet to be reached regarding Duma.
On Apr. 2, as talks between Russia and Jaish al-Islam (an armed opposition group operating in Eastern Ghouta) were underway, evacuations began from Duma, with some 5,000 civilians leaving the area for opposition-held areas of northern Syria.
According to local sources, Friday’s airstrikes were prompted by a disagreement between Russia and the Jaish al-Islam, with the latter insisting that Duma be included in the evacuation process.
Roughly 100,000 people live in Duma, a regime-besieged neighborhood of Eastern Ghouta that is approximately seven square kilometers in size.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
According to UN officials, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict to date.–AA

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