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Two killed in Syria as attacks defy 'safe corridor' truce

By Susan McFarland
The after-effect of shelling on a steets of rebel-held Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on Saturday. Photo by Mohammed Badra/EPA-EFE
The after-effect of shelling on a steets of rebel-held Douma, Eastern Ghouta, on Saturday. Photo by Mohammed Badra/EPA-EFE

Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Two people were killed Tuesday as Syrian government forces attacked rebel-held Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus, where a five-hour daily truce was supposed to allow for evacuations and delivery of supplies.

The civilians were killed less than two hours into the truce, Mahmoud Adam, a spokesman for Syria's Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, told Al Jazeera. He said many others were wounded in the airstrikes by Syrian warplanes.

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A Syrian state news agency said rebels fired several rockets toward the corridor that was supposed to allow for evacuations.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 550 people have been killed in the last eight days during airstrikes and ground operations.

Syrian defenses say on Monday, a suspected chemical attack killed a child and injured 18 others in Eastern Ghouta.

A Russian state news agency said more than 20 mines were fired in the area, preventing civilians from leaving and shelling humanitarian corridors.

The Russian Reconciliation Center is urging the armed groups to cease fire and not hinder evacuations.

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Russia's decision to implement a cease-fire came after the United Nations Security Council on Saturday unanimously called for a 30-day cessation of fighting in the Ghouta region.

The vote was delayed for days so that Russia could make revisions to the draft of the plan. The U.N. resolution calls for rebels to refrain from firing artillery shells into the capital of Damascus, which have also killed civilians.

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