Rebels shoot dead protester in Syria's Ghouta: monitor


Beirut (AFP)

Rebels in Syria's battered Eastern Ghouta shot dead a civilian Monday taking part in a protest calling for a deal to end regime attacks on the enclave, a Britain-based monitor said.

The man was killed in Kafr Batna where talks have been ongoing with the regime on a possible deal to evacuate fighters and civilians from the area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

More than 1,160 civilians have been killed since Russia-backed regime forces launched a brutal air and ground assault on Eastern Ghouta, the last stronghold of the armed opposition near the capital Damascus.

"Seven hundred people protested in the area of Kafr Batna asking for a deal to end the fighting," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

"Opposition fighters deployed on rooftops opened fire on the protest, which led to one civilian being killed and six wounded," he said.

Kafr Batna is controlled by opposition group Faylaq al-Rahman, but jihadists from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) -- once linked to Al-Qaeda's Syria branch -- also have a presence.

Kafr Batna is one of several areas in the besieged enclave where talks are ongoing between local dignitaries and the regime on a possible evacuation to other areas of the country under rebel control.

But no deal has been reached until now, the Observatory said.

Regime forces have taken control of around 60 percent of Eastern Ghouta since launching their offensive on February 18.

Eastern Ghouta, which is home to some 400,000 people, has been under regime siege ever since 2013.