Russian Official Concerned over Deteriorating Situation in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Yuri Yevtushenko, head of the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in the Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, and terrorists’ attacks on civilians who aim to flee the enclave via a humanitarian corridor.
"Yet another, the sixth, humanitarian pause was observed under control of the reconciliation center from nine in the morning to 02:00 p.m. local time. However, despite all the measures we took, not a single civilian could break free from the enclave again," he said on Sunday.
According to the Russian official, all possible channels are used to inform civilians about escape routes and rules for safe movement via the humanitarian corridors.
He said a checkpoint, a first aid station and a temporary accommodation camp are ready to receive people leaving the dangerous zone.
"Armed groups have blocked all exit routes in the district. The security corridor along the road leading to the checkpoint in the settlement of al-Wafidin and the checkpoint regularly come under gunfire by militants. Shelling doesn’t stop even during humanitarian pauses," he was quoted by the Russian TASS news agency.
A medical post located near the checkpoint came under mortar fire from militant positions in Eastern Ghouta’s western part of Al-Rihan. "Six mines went off at a distance from 200 to 400 meters west of the medical post. No one was hurt," Yevtushenko said.
He said that the Russian reconciliation center continues to receive calls from people living in Eastern Ghouta, who are in bad need for food, medicines and drinking water. Moreover, people complain of militants’ atrocities.
"Illegal armed groups’ actions seeking to break down the ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus and its suburbs and in entire Syria are inadmissible. We demand immediate cessation of military crimes, armed provocations. We demand safe exodus from dangerous areas to be ensured for civilians," he stressed.
"Despite the tense situation in a number of Syrian regions, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties continues efforts to normalize the humanitarian situation across the country," he said, adding that on Sunday, 85 Syrians, including 35 children had received first aid assistance from Russian military doctors.
The sixth humanitarian pause started in Eastern Ghouta at 09:00 local time on Sunday. Militants continue to keep local residents as a human shield, not letting them to cross the humanitarian corridor. Only two children have managed to break free from the area. On Saturday, militants conducted sniper fire at the humanitarian corridor, wounding three civilians.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Monday that terrorists of Jabhat al-Nusra and terrorist groups affiliated to it positioned in Ghouta have targeted Tishreen Military Hospital with mortar shells and have injured a number of people, some of them in critical condition.
In retaliation for the terrorists’ attacks on Damascus and its suburb, the Syrian army regained control over the town of al-Nashabiye and a number of villages and farms in Eastern Ghouta and inflicted heavy losses upon Jabhat al-Nusra and groups affiliated to it, a military source said to SANA.
In the meantime, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told reporters on Sunday that the operations would continue, while "opening the way for civilians to leave."