Violence returns to Syria's Eastern Ghouta after a short lull

BEIRUT, Weedah Hamzah (dpa) - Violence returned late Friday to the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region, near the capital Damascus, after bad weather halted a week-long fight for a few hours, a monitoring group said.
"The shelling and airstrikes resumed on Eastern Ghouta, wounding at least 21 civilians," the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told dpa.

The observatory said airstrikes on Misraba wounded 13 people, while eight were wounded in nearby Arbeen.
It added that more than 50 artillery shells fell on the region, which is located on the outskirts of the capital Damascus.
Bad weather earlier on Friday forced Syrian government forces and rebels to halt their week-long fight in the opposition stronghold.
Strong winds and heavy rains also prompted the government to stop airstrikes on the rebel-held region of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus, the observatory said.
The week-long fight has enabled rebels to encircle a government army base in Eastern Ghouta's Harasta.
The rebel advance prompted the government to send military reinforcements, including the elite presidential guard, to the area in an attempt to break the siege on the base, the observatory said.
At least 130 civilians were among 227 people killed in Eastern Ghouta's violence since December 29, according to the Britain-based watchdog, which relies on a network of activists inside war-ravaged Syria.
Eastern Ghouta is the main opposition bastion, which has been under siege by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for more than four years. A total of 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta have been largely cut off from humanitarian aid since 2013.
In recent months, al-Assad's forces, supported by Russia, have regained ground from Western-backed opposition fighters and militants in Syria's devastating multi-sided conflict, which started with peaceful anti-government protests in 2011.

Saturday, January 6th 2018
Weedah Hamzah

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