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US concerned over Assad regime seizures of neighborhoods in Damascus

WASHINGTON, June 21 (KUNA) -- The US voiced Friday its deep concern by the Assad regime's ongoing seizures of neighborhoods in Damascus and the welfare of the residents.
State Department Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell told reporters that the US voiced "deep concern by the Assad regime's ongoing seizures of the Damascus neighborhoods of Al-Qaboun and Al-Barzeh." He added that the two neighborhoods in Damascus "where regime forces, with the support of Hezbollah, have now repeatedly cut off access to food and medical supplies to 40,000 residents trapped inside." "We're concerned by the implications that a major impending regime offensive may have in these areas. We expect many residents to try to flee in advance of the possible regime and allied militias attack. So we're deeply concerned about the welfare of these citizens," he remarked.
He added that "... we've long expressed our deep concerns over the regime and allied militias' efforts to drive sectarian tensions through atrocities." "We call on all Syrians to resist the temptation of sectarian retributions and further sectarian violence," he noted.
Furthermore, Ventrell indicated that they have seen reports of a "limited" number of Iraqi Shia and Sunni militants fighting in Syria, saying "these movements stoke the violence in Syria and contribute to the suffering of the Syrian people.
"We continue to call on all of Syria's neighbors to take all possible steps to prevent the flow of militant fighters into Syria in order to prevent exacerbating the sectarian aspects of the conflict," he stressed. (end) si.bs KUNA 212255 Jun 13NNNN