An internally displaced family stand inside a damaged building they are currently living in, inside the rebel-held besieged eastern Ghouta of Damascus, Syria October 15, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
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Since a cessation of hostilities collapsed last month, international attention has been focused on a major attack by President Bashar Assad's government forces and his allies on the northern city of Aleppo.Government troops, backed by Russian air power and Iranian-backed fighters, have been snuffing out pockets of rebellion near the capital, notably taking the suburb Daraya after forcing surrender on besieged rebels.Several hundred thousand people are believed to be trapped inside the besieged area, similar in scale to the 250,000 civilians under siege in Aleppo.The district has regularly been pounded by government airstrikes.The territory taken by the army in the past six months was full of crops, until fierce battles and airstrikes set it ablaze, aid worker Osama Abu Zaid told Reuters from the area.Opponents of Assad accuse his government and its Russian allies of relentlessly bombing Eastern Ghouta before ground troops swept in. Amid ongoing battles, the army has escalated its bombing of Eastern Ghouta, and dozens have been killed this month, the Observatory reported. It said the army advanced in the northeast of the area, edging closer to the city of Douma.
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