Civilians of Ghouta trapped in regime's blistering assault

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In less than two weeks, the Syrian army has retaken almost all the farmland in Eastern Ghouta under cover of near ceaseless shelling and air strikes, leaving only a dense sprawl of towns - about half the territory - still under insurgent control.

"The UN calls for a cessation of hostilities in the area and for calm throughout Syria so that aid can be safely delivered to people in need", Zaatari said.

The cease-fire endorsed more than a week ago by the United Nations Security Council - but not yet implemented - does not cover H.T.S., a coalition of rebel forces led by the Nusra Front, a group that was formed as Al Qaeda's Syria affiliate and is listed internationally as a terrorist group.

But the government of President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to continue military operations, as it regards nearly all rebel groups as terrorists.

Insurgent groups in eastern Ghouta deny this, but a Reuters witness on Friday saw gunfire and mortar fire from inside the rebel territory near one of the crossing points.

The army captured a road linking the town of Douma with Harasta further west, and also captured the town of Misraba, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Daylight saving time begins Sunday
Teams making visits to homes will share fire safety and preparedness information and install smoke alarms in homes as requested. Fulton County Fire Coordinator Steven Santa Maria is asking everyone to get ready to spring forward for daylight saving time.

At least 976 civilians, including 208 children, have been killed in Eastern Ghouta since February 18, when al-Assad's forces started a major offensive against rebel-held areas there, according to the Observatory.

Taking advantage of the relative quiet, 13 trucks loaded with 2,400 food parcels entered Eastern Ghouta on Friday morning, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Some 400,000 people are still thought to live in the area, seven years into Syria's civil war.

Moscow had justified the continued bombardment of the area by saying extremists remained embedded in the towns and were preventing civilians from taking advantage of a designated evacuation corridor to flee the fighting.

The charity said 15 of the 20 medical facilities it supports in Eastern Ghouta have been hit by air strikes or shelling.

Aid agencies have tried to deliver aid into eastern Ghouta, but they have only been able to bring in a portion of the amount they wanted as Takfiri militants continue to bomb areas around the besieged enclave.