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  1. ITV Report

Syria: Red Cross starts medical evacuations from rebel-held East Ghouta

The Red Cross has began evacuating ill people from the besieged Syrian town of Eastern Ghouta.

The rebel-held town, on the outskirts of capital Damascus, has been under attack by forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for several years.

Hundreds of people, including dozens of children, have been killed since government forces stepped up its bombardment of the area early last month, with 181 airstrikes carried out in just one week in November alone.

On Tuesday night the Red Cross began evacuating critical medical cases to Damascus.

The operation involved volunteers from Syrian Arab Red Crescent, a humanitarian organisation, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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It comes as Russia's proposed peace talks were rejected by rebels and opposition groups.

They accused Moscow of failing to pressure its ally, President Assad, to end the conflict.

Forty rebel groups said the talks expected next month are an attempt to circumvent the UN-led process, which has made virtually no progress since it began in 2014.

The groups, including Ahrar al-Sham, Army of Islam, and western and regionally backed Free Syrian Army groups, said Moscow asked them to give up their demand for Mr Assad to step down.

But they rejected the call, calling Russia "an aggressor that has committed war crimes against Syrians".

They said they are committed to the UN-led Geneva process, and urged the international community to end the bloodshed, now in its seventh year.

At least 400,000 people have been killed in Syria's civil war that followed a violent crackdown on demonstrations in 2011 against the rule of the family of President Assad.