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    A fighter from Free Syrian Army's Al Rahman legion walks near piled sandbags in Ain Tarma, eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria July 17, 2017

    UN Concerned About Shelling in Syrian Eastern Ghouta De-Escalation Zone

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    The United Nations is concerned about the new artillery shelling in Syria's de-escalation zone located in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, Stephane Dujarric, the UN secretary general's spokesman, said.

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — The humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta, controlled by several armed opposition groups, remains tense. Humanitarian agencies have confirmed worsening food conditions in this area, but not mass starvation.

    "We remain concerned for the safety and protection of some 400,000 civilians in the besieged area of East Ghouta, as fighting continues to be reported in several areas despite the signing of a de‑escalation agreement in July. Today, according to initial reports, airstrikes and artillery shelling on many cities and towns resulted in several civilian deaths and injuries. All schools in East Ghouta will reportedly be closed tomorrow," Dujarric said at a briefing on Tuesday.

    Russia, which is in charge of monitoring the situation in this de-escalation zone, believes that the rumors about hunger in Eastern Ghouta are exaggerated, but has noted that the region has the highest concentration of communities in urgent need of humanitarian aid and strongly advises the West to engage in providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people.

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