Smoke billows following Syrian government bombardment in Arbin in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on March 10, 2018. / AFP / Ammar SULEIMAN
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The assault has followed a divide-and-conquer strategy, eating away at rebel-held territory, and government forces Saturday successfully isolated Ghouta's main town of Douma in a blow for the beleaguered rebels.Regime fighters cut off a road linking Douma with the town of Harasta further west and also captured the town of Misraba, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.At least 20 civilians -- including four children -- were killed in Douma Saturday, in addition to 17 civilians in other battlefront towns, said the Observatory.After a ferocious month-long government assault, thousands of rebel fighters and civilians were bussed out of the city's east.Saturday, Ankara-backed rebels advanced against Kurdish militia in northwest Syria, coming to within two kilometres (just over one mile) of the flashpoint town of Afrin, the Observatory said.Elsewhere in Syria, the White Helmets rescue force suffered its first female fatality on Saturday, after air strikes hit a rebel-held town in Idlib province.
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