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Iran Press TV

Russia says militants indiscriminately target civilians in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 1, 2018 03:27PM

The Russian military says militants continue to indiscriminately target civilians in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus, which has witnessed deadly violence over the past few days.

Speaking in the Syrian capital Damascus, Major General Vladimir Zolotukhin told reporters that militants killed at least four civilians on Thursday, adding that the killings showed militant threats against people who wanted to leave Eastern Ghouta were real.

The Russian military says terrorists are blocking civilian evacuations from the Damascus suburb by shelling the route out of the area days after a humanitarian pause went into effect to help the residents flee the militant-held area.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the implementation of a daily five-hour ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta from Tuesday and the creation of a humanitarian corridor through which civilians could leave the militant-held area.

However, the chief of the group controlling the de-escalation zone in the area, Viktor Pankov, said Tuesday that not a single civilian had been able to leave the area via the corridor in the settlement of Vafidin, Russian news agencies reported.

Putin has recently warned that his patience with militant attacks in Syria's Ghouta region was not indefinite.

Last week, the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously in favor of a 30-day ceasefire in Syria "without delay" to allow aid access and medical evacuations in conflict-ridden areas.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday that the Russian plan for a five-hour pause in fighting in Syria's Eastern Ghouta needed to be upgraded to allow aid deliveries and medical evacuations. The envoy added that the UN would not give up seeking a full 30-day ceasefire, as mandated by the Security Council.

Russia has on several occasions asked the international community and its "Western colleagues" in the UNSC "so active on the Syrian trajectory" to evaluate the many attacks terrorists in Ghouta have conducted on its diplomatic mission over the past years.

Putin's administration has been engaged in an anti-terror campaign in Syria since September 30, 2015, based on a request from the Damascus government.

The campaign has been deemed largely successful by experts as it has helped the Syrian government push terrorists out of many areas.

Eastern Ghouta, which is home to some 400,000 people, has witnessed deadly violence over the past few days, with foreign-sponsored terrorists launching mortar attacks on the Syrian capital in the face of an imminent humiliating defeat.

Western powers, however, blame the Syrian government and Russia for the crisis.

After losing most of the Syrian territories in their control, foreign-backed militants are now largely concentrated in Eastern Ghouta, causing one of the deadliest stages over the course of the years-long conflict in Syria.

Syrian government forces have been pounding terrorist positions in the area to retake it and free a large number of civilians who are trapped there and struggle with malnutrition and lack of basic medical supplies.

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