Syrian rebels in eastern Ghouta agree to evacuate imprisoned Nusra fighters

Syrian rebels in eastern Ghouta agree to evacuate imprisoned Nusra fighters
Syrian rebels in eastern Ghouta agree to evacuate imprisoned Nusra fighters
Author

11 March, 2018

Mohammad Adel, an antigovernment activist in Douma, said H.T.S. had endangered people in Eastern Ghouta, declared Muslims who disagree with the group nonbelievers, and soured residents on the other rebel groups.

Syrian government forces succeeded Saturday in their deepest push yet into the eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus, cutting off a major highway that made it hard to move between three parts of the rebel-held area, and inflicting a major blow to opposition fighters who have vowed not to surrender.

State TV said 13 fighters and their families had arrived at the crossing point.

"The choice of the people in Ghouta is either to get out - and they don't know what's happening when they get out of Ghouta - or to stay and be under the bombs", he stated.

The postponement came as Syrian government forces intensified their offensive on the area, known as eastern Ghouta, under the cover of airstrikes.

In the Eastern Ghouta region, 46 trucks arrived on Monday with aid for the needy populations, however, the delivery of the products had to be suspended due to heavily armed attacks by extremist groups against the caravan.

A first group of jihadists is to be evacuated from the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the target of a devastating regime assault, a powerful Islamist rebel group announced on Friday.

But the government of President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to continue military operations, as it regards nearly all rebel groups as terrorists.

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Mekdad also pointed out that the Syrian government had asked worldwide investigators to investigate reports about a chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun but the request was declined over alleged poor security conditions.

Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam has agreed to evacuate jihadist fighters being held in its prisons in besieged Eastern Ghouta, a statement says.

Bilal Abu Salah, a resident of Douma, said shortages were causing great hardship.

Moscow had justified the continued bombardment of the area by saying extremists remained embedded in the towns and were preventing civilians from taking advantage of a designated evacuation corridor to flee the fighting. The district is besieged by Syrian government forces.

The rebels in Eastern Ghouta are not one cohesive group.

Rebels deny stopping anyone leaving and say people have refused to cross into government territory for fear of persecution.

Syrian state television showed a massive plume of dark smoke rising behind houses and trees in Eastern Ghouta, with the sound of blasts in the background.


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