Assad visits troops and civilians in eastern Ghouta (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters walk together after advancing north of Afrin Syria

Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters walk together after advancing north of Afrin Syria

Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus and home to about 400,000 civilians has been under attack by the Syrian-Russian military alliance since February 19.

The Syrian government has sought to drive a wedge between rival rebels who control different parts of eastern Ghouta.

Ankara says Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters are an extension of a militant group waging an insurgency inside Turkey, and vowed to crush what it described as a "terror corridor" of YPG-controlled territory along Turkey's southern border with Syria. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled in recent days.

Turkish forces and allied rebel groups have been locked in a violent battle with... "Our troops will turn into a continuous nightmare for them", said Othman Sheikh Issa, an official from Afrin. The area has been under rebel control since 2012.

The military tweeted aerial footage and photographs of the town's general hospital it said were from Saturday morning, showing it was intact.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Turkish flag and the flag of the Syrian opposition fighters has been raised in the town, previously controlled by the Kurdish militia known as the People's Defense Units, or YPG.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on worldwide law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defence rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it has said.

On Sunday, and after days of relative calm in the northern pocket, the Observatory reported new intense shelling on Douma, the largest town in eastern Ghouta. He joins TRT World from Ankara with his analysis on Turkey's victory in Afrin and how Turkey will secure the return of displaced Syrians to the town. A Kurdish official on Sunday said the fight against ISIS in northeastern Deir el-Zour province, where remnants of ISIS have remained, have been put on hold as the battle for Afrin unfolded. These forces will strike the positions of the Turkish enemy and its mercenaries at every opportunity.

Air strikes killed 37 civilians across the shrinking rebel territory Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor reported, majority in the town of Zamalka as they prepared to flee.

Also on Sunday, state TV said the Syrian army had given a group of rebels in another pocket, the smaller Harasta area, an ultimatum to withdraw.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu agency said Turkish troops heading from east to west and troops heading west to east have linked up in northern Afrin.

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