Syrian opposition: United Nations 'responsible' for silence over Ghouta

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According to the United Relief Office in Eastern Ghouta, at least 1,699 people have been killed since 19 February.

Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies swept into the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin on Sunday, raising their flags in the town centre and declaring full control after an eight-week campaign to drive out Kurdish YPG forces.

Most have left through a Syrian army corridor near Hammouriyeh.

The Observatory says almost 200,000 people have fled the Afrin region in recent days amid heavy airstrikes, entering Syrian government-held territory nearby.

Issa, the Kurdish official, said more than 800 YPG fighters have been killed in the 58 days of fighting, and estimated that 500 civilians were killed.

"In the line of fire in eastern Ghouta".

Sixty patients were evacuated from the main town of Douma on Saturday, a medical source told AFP, on the fifth day straight of such evacuations.

Ali Imceddemi, a 60-year-old baker, said the YPG/PKK did not allow civilians to leave the town for days, using them as human shields.

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The militant group, which bears ties with the so-called Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army militant group, added that the subject of "exit and evacuation" was "not on the table". He says numerous Kurdish fighters have fled.

The Syrian army said it had captured 70 per cent of Eastern Ghouta, after splitting the area into sections to facilitate the battle against various rebel groups there. Erdogan has said the people of Afrin will return.

Turkey's president said Syrian fighters, supported by the Turkish military, took the town centre this morning, forcing members of the Kurdish YPG militia to flee.

Earlier last week, Turkish-led forces largely surrounded Afrin city, leaving a single escape route open southwards to territory still held by the YPG or controlled by the Syrian regime.

"But this is a drop in the bucket of what people in Douma require", he said. "Some sleep in cars or on the roadside", said the person, asking not to be named, adding that rent prices in the area had soared. On Saturday, Turkey's military denied responsibility for a strike on a hospital that killed 16 people, including two pregnant women.

In a press conference outside of Afrin, Kurdish official Othman Sheik Issa said a new phase of the fight will begin against Turkey, threatening "hit and run tactics" to target Turkish troops and its allied forces.

"Every tank driver who advances one metre forward has changed the political map of the world", state news agency SANA reported Assad as saying.

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