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Red Cross Says Violence Halts Aid Delivery To Syria's Ghouta

An International Red Cross volunteer stands near the rubble of a destroyed building in Douma in the Syrian rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus on March 5.

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) says it was forced to halt aid delivery to the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta in Syria the previous day after the security situation worsened while aid workers were on the ground.

Ingy Sedky, the ICRC spokeswoman in Syria, said on March 6 that most of the aid from a 46-truck convoy was delivered to the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta on March 5, but the mission was cut short before the rest of the supplies could be unloaded.

Iyad Abdelaziz, a member of the Douma Local Council, said nine aid trucks had to leave the area after government shelling and air strikes intensified in the evening.

The March 5 shipment was the first to enter eastern Ghouta in weeks.

Violence in Ghouta, where some 393,000 people are trapped, has left more than 600 civilians dead since government forces and their allies escalated their offensive on the Damascus suburb on February 18, according to activists.

Meanwhile, Turkey has said it will establish camps in nine locations in northern Syria to house people displaced by fighting amid Ankara's offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the camps would be built in a zone controlled by Turkish-backed forces, as well as in Idlib Province where Turkish forces are trying to establish a "deescalation zone" under an agreement reached between Turkey, Russia, and Iran.

Aksoy said the camps would host a total of 170,000 people.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP