A picture taken on February 27, 2018, shows smoke plumes rising during reported regime bombardment Syrian rebel-held town of Douma, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. / AFP / HAMZA AL-AJWEH
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Western powers turned up the heat on Damascus Friday as tens of thousands of civilians in Syria's battered rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta awaited desperately needed aid.More than 600 civilians have been killed in the enclave outside Damascus since Russia-backed regime forces launched an assault on Feb. 18 .Washington has asked the U.N. Security Council to set up a new inquiry into chemical weapons attacks in Syria after reports of suspected chlorine use in Eastern Ghouta, according to a draft resolution obtained by AFP Thursday.On Friday, distrust ran high among civilians in Eastern Ghouta on the fourth day of a daily five-hour "humanitarian pause".The only civilians known to have left Eastern Ghouta so far since the "humanitarian pause" took effect are an elderly Pakistani couple who were evacuated on Wednesday to Damascus.On Thursday, Turkish air strikes killed three Kurdish fighters and 14 allied pro-regime fighters in Afrin, the Observatory said.Last month, the Syrian government deployed fighters to the enclave, which is controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia.
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