Advance by Syrian army in Eastern Ghouta splits rebel enclave in three

A Syrian soldier loyal to President Bashar al Assad is seen outside eastern Ghouta in Damascus Syria

Syrian state news agency SANA said dozens of civilians were expected to leave Eastern Ghouta on Friday. "But then air strikes began again, and there are still people under the rubble that we couldn't get out", said Moayad, a man in the town of Saqba.

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.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian Federation, his main ally, said the campaign was needed to end rebel shelling of Damascus and to end the rule of Islamist insurgents over the area's civilians.

The government forces isolated Eastern Ghouta's towns of Douma and Harasta from each other and from the rest of the enclave, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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A picture from Syrian state TV showing unidentified "fighters", evacuated from Eastern Ghouta.

An aid convoy that failed to deliver humanitarian supplies to Syria's besieged eastern Ghouta last week due to violence delivered "urgently needed" aid on Friday despite fighting, which took place extremely close to the convoy, the Red Cross said.

"It is very inhuman to do", he said, referring to the governments strategy to keep humanitarian aid from reaching trapped civilians.

The trucks had been stuck at the Wafideen crossing the entire week, waiting to enter to deliver the remaining food parcels and flour bags.

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On Friday, 13 HTS members and their relatives were bussed out of the enclave. The channel has been reporting since last week that rebels have prevented civilians from leaving.

The ferocious three-week assault on the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus has captured about half its area and killed 960 people, according to a war monitor.

That paved the way for Syria's government to announce the full recapture of Aleppo - the largest defeat to date for the fractured opposition movement. The advance is seen as a significant development in the bloody conflict in the region.

Turkey-led rebels have been pressing an assault on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin since January 20.

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