Syrian army makes 'significant' advances in Damascus' suburb

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Syrian army makes 'significant' advances in Damascus' suburb
This photo provided by the official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency, Syrian President Bashar Assad, center, speaks with reporters, in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, March 4, 2018 . Assad vowed Sunday to continue with a military offensive in a rebel-held region near the capital, as troops and allied militias captured a number of villages and towns in the besieged region, in their largest advance since a wide-scale operation began last month. (Syrian Presidency Facebook Page via AP)

BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian government says it has achieved “significant” progress in its ongoing military operation in rebel-held suburbs east of Damascus, seizing around 36 percent of the total area held by different armed groups.

Syria’s Central Military Media says troops are continuing their advance from the east and are only 3 kilometers, or 1.8 miles, from meeting troops advancing from the west, which would achieve the partitioning of eastern Ghouta into two parts.

Monday’s announcement comes a day after troops recaptured control over the town of Nashabiyah and a number of villages and farms in eastern Ghouta in the largest advances since the government’s wide-scale operation began last month.

Eastern Ghouta has been under daily bombardment for months. More than 600 civilians have been killed in the last two weeks alone.