Syrian army units attack Mesraba in Ghouta to secure entry - state TV reports

Syrians run for cover in Hamouria during Syrian government shelling on rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on March 6, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 07 March 2018
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Syrian army units attack Mesraba in Ghouta to secure entry - state TV reports

Syrian army units attacked rebel defences in Mesraba in Eastern Ghouta on Wednesday with “preparatory fire” to secure entry of infantry units, state TV reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Syrian regime brought reinforcements to Eastern Ghouta the Syrian observatory said.
Meanwhile, Syrian rebels in Eastern Ghouta will defend the territory and there are no negotiations over a withdrawal that has been proposed by Russia, the military spokesman for one of the main Eastern Ghouta rebel groups said on Wednesday.
“There are no negotiations about this subject. The factions of Ghouta and their fighters and its people are holding onto their land and will defend it,” Hamza Birqdar told Reuters in a text message.
Russia, President Bashar Assad’s most powerful ally, has offered to give rebel fighters safe passage out of eastern Ghouta, near the capital, Damascus, with their families and personal weapons.


Palestinians protest in Ramallah over Gaza sanctions

Updated 42 min 44 sec ago
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Palestinians protest in Ramallah over Gaza sanctions

  • Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated Saturday in the occupied West Bank to demand the Palestinian Authority lift punitive measures against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
  • Demonstrators in Ramallah chanted “scrap the sanctions!” during protests against the Palestinian Authority.

RAMALLAH: Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated Saturday in the occupied West Bank to demand the Palestinian Authority lift punitive measures against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, an AFP reporter said.
Demonstrators in Ramallah chanted “scrap the sanctions!” during protests against the Palestinian Authority, organized by civil society groups.
The Ramallah-based administration has introduced a series of measures against Gaza over the past year.
Tens of thousands of its civil servants in the coastal enclave, separated from the West Bank by a strip of Israeli territory, have gone without full pay for months.
Critics say such moves by the PA, dominated by the Fatah movement of president Mahmud Abbas, further exacerbate the split between the two parts of the Palestinian territories.
The rally passed peacefully, unlike a protest on June 13 during which Palestinian security forces fired stun grenades and tear gas to disperse demonstrators.
On Saturday, policemen were seen handing out Palestinian flags to the protesters.
Hamas has run Gaza since seizing it from the Palestinian Authority amid deadly clashes in 2007.
Since that year, Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza which it argues is necessary to isolate Hamas.
Rights groups say the siege amounts to collective punishment.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars in the territory since 2008.
Neighbouring Egypt has also largely sealed its land border with Gaza in recent years, citing security threats.
The United Nations has said Gaza, which is home to two million people, will be uninhabitable by 2020.
Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement last October, but it has since collapsed.