Eastern Ghouta's rebels agree to evacuate imprisoned Nusra fighters

11 March, 2018, 01:36 | Author: Diane Mills
  • A Syrian soldier loyal to President Bashar al Assad is seen outside eastern Ghouta in Damascus Syria

Insurgent groups in eastern Ghouta deny this, but a Reuters witness on Friday saw gunfire and mortar fire from inside the rebel territory near one of the crossing points.

Grandi added that while most of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon have expressed a desire to return to their home country, "almost all of them say not right now" and any plans of them returning are "very premature".

"It has been agreed that the first group of HTS members be released from the prisons of Jaish al-Islam".

Earlier, 13 trucks loaded with 2,400 food parcels crossed into Eastern Ghouta, the International Committee of the Red Cross said, entering what United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has called "hell on earth".

The Syrian government has reportedly captured the central town of Misraba, and advanced onwards into surrounding farmland.

The Observatory also said warplanes, helicopters and artillery had been used in bombardment of the area overnight.

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"We are not cooperating with the UNHRC as it is politicized and propagating the policy of western states targeting Syria", Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told reporters.

Doctors without Borders says at least 1,000 people have been killed between February 18 and March 4 and another 5,000 wounded.

Doctors and nurses in the enclave have run out of several life-saving items, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which reported a "terrible medical catastrophe".

Despite two weeks of air strikes and artillery bombardment that have killed nearly 950 civilians, the main rebel groups have so far rejected Russian-brokered offers to evacuate civilians or any of their own fighters. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi spoke about the situation and suffering in the region while in Beirut on Friday.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian Federation, his main ally, said the campaign was needed to end rebel shelling of Damascus and to end the rule of Islamist insurgents over the area's civilians. Any solution to the crisis will probably involve a partial evacuation of rebel fighters and perhaps civilians, in a deal similar to past surrender agreements between the government and rebels.

Turkey-led rebels have been pressing an assault on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin since January 20.



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