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Iran Press TV

First group of militants leaves Eastern Ghouta near Syrian capital Damascus

Iran Press TV

Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:13AM

The first batch of foreign-backed militants, along with their families, has left Syria's Eastern Ghouta, a day after the Syrian government opened a second safe corridor out of the militant-held enclave near the capital Damascus.

Syria's official news agency SANA reported late on Friday that 13 militants and their family members had left the flashpoint Eastern Ghouta by a bus through the al-Wafideen Camp safe corridor on the outskirts of the capital a few hours earlier.

The Nusra Front militants, who had been in prisons run by the so-called Jaish al-Islam Takfiri outfit, a rival terror group, will finally be relocated to Idlib province in northeastern Syria.

The report added that the terror groups in Eastern Ghouta were still trying to prevent civilians from leaving the enclave as they constantly target the safe passages of al-Wafideen and Jisreen "with shells and explosive bullets."

In a statement on Twitter on Friday, the Jaish al-Islam Takfiri outfit, one of the main terror factions in Eastern Ghouta, said the decision to release some Nusra Front inmates had been made in consultation with the UN, a number of international parties and civil society representatives from the enclave.

Last week, army troops secured a safe corridor set up for the evacuation of civilians via the al-Wafideen checkpoint, through which a UN aid convoy, consisting 46 truckloads of health, food and nutrition supplies, crossed into Eastern Ghouta and headed for the main town of Douma.

Despite two weeks of intense fighting with the government troops, the main militant groups active in the enclave have so far rejected Russian-brokered offers to evacuate desperate civilians. Russia has designated four safe passage routes in Eastern Ghouta after a ceasefire was declared across Syria by the UN Security Council.

Eastern Ghouta, a besieged area on the outskirts of Damascus with some 400,000 people, has witnessed deadly violence over the past few weeks, as Takfiri terrorist outfits have launched mortar attacks on the Syrian capital in the face of an imminent humiliating defeat, killing around 20 civilians in two weeks.

The Syrian army is making steady advances in the enclave, but it is facing a hostile West, which is threatening airstrikes to stop the push. President Bashar al-Assad vowed last week that Syrian forces would continue the campaign until the whole area is retaken.

On Thursday, a pro-Damascus commander, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that army troops were poised to slice the militant-held shrinking enclave in two as forces advancing from the east linked up with soldiers at its western edge.

Furthermore, Syria's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Hussam Aala, told the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday that military operations in Eastern Ghouta targeted "terrorist organizations in accordance with international humanitarian law."

He added that the terrorists "continue to indiscriminately shell" the capital.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

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