Syrian Observatory: One third of Syria's Ghouta enclave taken by govt

A general view shows a Syrian air force Su-17 fighter plane flying over the besieged rebel-held town of Hamouria in the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on March 3, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 05 March 2018
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Syrian Observatory: One third of Syria's Ghouta enclave taken by govt

BEIRUT:The Syrian army and its allies have captured more than a third of the rebel enclave in eastern Ghouta near Damascus since starting a ground offensive there a week ago, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.
The Britain-based war monitor said more than 700 people have been killed in eastern Ghouta in the past two weeks, since the government and its allies began a massive bombardment of the area on Feb. 18 in preparation for the attack. 
Fresh air raids by the Syrian regime on the besieged rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta killed at least 14 civilians overnight, a monitor said Monday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said barrel bombs -- crude, improvised munitions that cause indiscriminate damage -- were used, including on the town of Hammuriyeh, where 10 people were killed.
The latest deaths brought to 709 the number of civilians killed since regime and allied Russian forces intensified their campaign against Eastern Ghouta in February.
According to Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Observatory, at least 166 of them were children.
The deadly raids, as well as other strikes and rocket fire elsewhere in Eastern Ghouta Monday, came as the battered enclave awaited a convoy of humanitarian aid from the United Nations.


Israel PM, Jordan king meet after months of strained ties

Updated 18 June 2018
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Israel PM, Jordan king meet after months of strained ties

AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have met after months of strained relations.
They held talks Monday in Jordan, with a focus on contested Jerusalem. The meeting came ahead of a visit to the region this week by Trump administration envoys trying to promote a plan for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
The administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has angered the Palestinians and Jordan. The Palestinians seek Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as a capital. Jordan serves as custodian of major Muslim and Christian holy sites in the city.
Netanyahu’s office says he told KIng Abdullah that he’s committed to the status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem.
Israel-Jordan ties had been strained for months over the killing of two Jordanians by an Israeli embassy guard.