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White Helmets urge end on attacks in Syria's East Ghouta

The White Helmets hold banners as they stage a protest named "Assad besieges Ghouta" to draw attention the deaths of children due to malnutrition on 26 October 2017 [Fadi al Shami/Anadolu Agency]

White Helmets, a Syrian civil defense agency, on Sunday called for an end to attacks by the Assad regime on the besieged Damascus suburb Eastern Ghouta, Anadolu reports.

"The Syrian regime carries out military operations against the people of Eastern Ghouta despite all the agreements signed to keep civilians away from the conflict zones. The media outlets of the regime report false news saying the civilians were evacuated from the war zone," said a statement on their social media account.

The group requested humanitarian aid and urgent medical assistance for people living in the besieged district.

Airstrikes by the regime, backed by Russian warplanes, have intensified in the last 16 days in Eastern Ghotua, it added.

The area was hit by 645 missile attacks, 3,031 artillery attacks and 695 airstrikes over the past 16 days killing at least 177 civilians, including 51 children and 34 women, according to the statement.

Read More: 40 civilians 'killed' in Syria's Eastern Ghouta in two days

In 2017, a total of 1,337 civilians were killed in Eastern Ghouta in attacks by regime forces, the White Helmets previously said on Tuesday. The victims included 12 of its members.

Last year, regime and pro-regime forces carried out 403 air raids and 7,325 artillery attacks, the agency said.

Some weapons including barrel bombs and napalm bombs, which have been restricted by international law, were unrelentingly used by the regime and affiliated armed groups in Eastern Ghouta, it added.

#WarInSyria

Home to some 400,000 inhabitants, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling siege by the Assad regime since late 2012.

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

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

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