Syrian Army Frees Citizens Abducted by Terrorists in Ghouta

28 March, 2018, 00:20 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • US Secretary of Defense James Mattis says deconfliction talks with the Russians averted another clash in Syria between US troops and Russian mercenaries

Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, gave the group 48 hours to agree to leave or face a final assault on the town, where Syrian opposition activists say some 150,000 civilians are trapped.

Syrian rebel fighters have evacuated one enclave in eastern Ghouta and reached a Russian-brokered deal to leave another, enabling Syrian government forces to regain control over most of the embattled Damascus suburb, war observers said.

Nearly 1,000 people - including militants, their relatives and other civilians - were evacuated from Eastern Ghouta on Saturday and 5,435 others on Sunday.

After weeks of heavy bombardment, two other rebel groups as well as al-Qaida fighters withdrew from their strongholds, leaving Douma as the last major town in rebel hands.

The regime-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said 18 buses carrying 1,100 people, including 238 opposition fighters from different rebel factions, were getting ready Monday to leave the towns of Jobar, Zamalka and Arbeen toward Idlib.

Russian Federation has brokered deals with Faylaq and another hardline group that has seen more than 17,000 rebels, their relatives, and other civilians bused out of Ghouta.

He also stressed that Turkey's stance on the events would be significantly different "if Ankara did not show political will, failing to clinch agreements with Russian Federation and Iran and agreeing with the Syrian Army's operation in the area".

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The Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation in Syria said in a statement that more than 400 people left Douma early Monday.

Since Feb. 19, more than 1,000 people have reportedly been killed in attacks by the regime and its allies in Eastern Ghouta.

The Britain-based monitor said it had also documented the detention of more than 40 men and boys by regime troops in recaptured areas.

The United Nations says around 55,000 of them are housed in very basic conditions in regime-run temporary shelters on the edge of Ghouta. Their destination - the northwestern city of Idlib - is also home to other mainly Islamist rebels who reached similar deals with the government after enduring months or years of siege.

However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels were divided on a deal with Moscow.

But divisions within opposition ranks were holding up the talks with some hardliners seeking to sabotage the proposed deal, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Syrians boarded buses to leave a ravaged pocket of Eastern Ghouta on Sunday, in a new wave of evacuations to clear another part of the former rebel bastion.

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