A tracer light illuminates the sky over the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on February 28, 2018. / AFP / Mohammed EYAD
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Syrian government forces aim to advance into the eastern Ghouta region one "bite" at a time, a pro-government commander said Friday, as a war monitor said the army had seized new ground from rebels.Russia, which backs the Syrian government in the war, has instead called for daily humanitarian ceasefires from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.Government forces, including the elite Tiger Force, have been attacking rebels in the Maraj area of the Ghouta for several days.The Observatory says the government bombardment of Ghouta has killed 617 people since Feb. 18, while intensified rebel shelling of government-held areas of Damascus has killed 27 .The Syrian government has consistently denied using chemical weapons, though Western states have accused it of doing so.The Observatory said Turkish warplanes attacked pro-Syrian government forces overnight in Afrin, killing at least 17 people, including militias that support Assad and which entered Afrin last week to help repel the Turkish offensive.
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