Апреля 24 2018

Rebels free five prisoners in Syria's eastern Ghouta

Апреля 24 2018, 06:48 | Irvin Gilbert

Syrian civilians and fighters prepare to board buses during the evacuation from Eastern Ghouta

Syrian civilians and fighters prepare to board buses during the evacuation from Eastern Ghouta

Syrian state TV said eight buses carrying 448 people - fighters and their families - had left Douma so far on Monday, en route for the north.

The buses are now waiting on the Harasta highway nearby for the militants to settle their dispute.

Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko, chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of the Syrian warring parties, said Sunday that the fighters are to hand over maps of mined areas and underground tunnels while leaving the Douma area of Eastern Ghouta.

There are also reports that the dominant militant group in Douma, so-called Jaish al-Islam, has struck a deal to evacuate the area.

The evacuation involves Fuaa and Kafraya, two Shiite areas in Idlib province surrounded by rebels, and the rebel-held towns of Zabadani and Madaya.

Geneva: The UN humanitarian adviser for Syria called on Wednesday for access to the eastern Ghouta town of Douma, where he said some 80,000-150,000 civilians were "on their knees" after years of siege and fighting.

In some towns, the civilians remained in their homes as the Syrian army entered the areas after the rebels fled.

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If confirmed, the departure of Jaish Al Islam from Douma would mark the end of the war for eastern Ghouta, wiping out an opposition stronghold near Damascus and underlining President Bashar Al Assad's unassailable position in the war.

The Army of Islam did not agree to leave the town, said Iyad Abdelaziz, a member of Douma's current local council.

Turkey and Russian Federation will cooperate to establish a hospital in Syria's Tel Abyad to give treatment to those escaping Eastern Ghouta, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.

"The network of tunnels connected ammunition warehouses under buildings places hard to identify for the Syrian air force", a military official said to SCMP.

Before February 18, some 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta had lived under regime siege for five years, facing severe food and medicine shortages.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The Syrian government says it fires in response to shelling from Eastern Ghouta, but Western countries are accusing the Syrian government and Russian Federation of being responsible for the intensification of tensions in the area. Around 1,300 fighters, activists, and civilians signed up for evacuation, according to the Observatory.

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