The 14 people killed by regime attacks in the besieged Damascus suburb on Wednesday places the death toll above 600 since an intensification of air strikes on the rebel-held enclave.

People watch as smoke rises in eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria on February 28, 2018.
People watch as smoke rises in eastern Ghouta, Damascus, Syria on February 28, 2018. (Reuters)

The death toll in Syria’s eastern Ghouta has surpassed 600 since Bashar al Assad’s regime forces, backed by Russian air strikes, intensified their offensive on the rebel-held Damascus enclave on February 18, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. 

At least 14 people, including a rescue worker, were killed by regime attacks on Wednesday despite an internationally-brokered ceasefire agreement to secure the delivery of vital humanitarian aid to besieged civilians, the White Helmets civil defence group reported.  

There were no air strikes during Wednesday's five-hour ceasefire, but the heavy bombardment resumed in the afternoon.

Thirty-eight members of the regime forces were also killed while attempting to storm eastern Ghouta in the last 48 hours, the observatory said. 

Eastern Ghouta falls within a network of de-escalation zones endorsed by Turkey, Russia and Iran in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

TRT World's Alaattin Kilic has more details from Kilis on the Turkey-Syria border.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries.

The resolution, prepared by Sweden and Kuwait, also calls for the medical evacuation of 700 people, particularly in eastern Ghouta.

The Damascus suburb has been under siege for the last five years, preventing the delivery of food and medicine and leaving thousands of patients in need of treatment. 

Russia says civilians in eastern Ghouta asking to be evacuated

The Russian military said on Thursday that civilians in Syria's eastern Ghouta had made numerous requests to be evacuated, the TASS news agency reported, citing Russian Major-General Vladimir Zolotukhin speaking to reporters in Damascus.

TASS cited Zolotukhin as saying that rebels were continuing to shell the evacuation corridor from eastern Ghouta. 

Meanwhile, an official from Russia's Security Council said on Thursday, that the United States has set up around 20 military bases in Syria on territory controlled by the YPG, the RIA news agency reported.

The official, Alexander Venediktov, an aide to Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, also said Washington was supplying the YPG with the most advanced weapons, according to RIA. 

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

According to UN officials, at least 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies