30 rebels surrender to Syrian army after evacuating Harasta

Pauline Gross
March 22, 2018

Dozens of people - including women and children - queued outside limited bathroom facilities.

As in other besieged parts of Syria, government forces have pressed the rebels to enter into local ceasefire agreements under which the militants and their families would relocate to other parts of the country. Russian Federation has been supporting Assad militarily since 2015 at Damascus' request. The official recalled the example of Syria's Khan Shaykhun.

A hardline Syrian rebel faction said Wednesday it had agreed with the regime to evacuate a bombed-out town in the Eastern Ghouta enclave near Damascus.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated at least 20 people were killed in the air strike on the village in Idlib province.

"The shift in focus of the 87th session of the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) Executive Council from the Syrian chemical dossier to the unsubstantiated accusations against Russian Federation over the chemical attack in Salisbury and the violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention only confirms the conclusion that the coalition's goals have been thwarted", Kirillov noted.

Johnson added that with Assad now controlling 75 percent of the population and 50 percent of the territory, there is "a huge amount of slaughter still to come", so the best thing would be "to get round the table in Geneva and begin the process of a new constitutional settlement for Syria".

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The Syrian Civil Defense said that since the latest offensive started a month ago, it documented 1,252 civilians killed in more than 2,990 airstrikes and hundreds of other shellings. Washington immediately rushed to blame Damascus for the attack and fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat Airbase, claiming it was the very compound from which jets allegedly armed with the chemical took off.

The Syrian army assault backed by Russian air power that began last month has killed hundreds of people as air strikes pound residential areas where thousands had sheltered in basements across the densely populated enclave, according to rescuers and a monitor.

The plight of civilians in the de facto capital of eastern Ghouta had worsened after air strikes on Sunday on a main warehouse that had stocked United Nations goods delivered this month, Abdul Aziz said. They have accused the Western-funded Civil Defence, sometimes also called the White Helmets, of working with terrorist groups and fabricating evidence of civilian casualties, which it denies.

He said the Syrian government was not directly involved in the talks but would be "ready to implement" any agreement. A child said he was out shopping with his family for Mother's Day when they heard a huge explosion. President Bashar Assad paid a rare visit to troops on the front lines over the weekend.

A third humanitarian corridor is opened in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus. As many as 315 people, including 15 militants wishing to stop fighting, left the area through the new corridor within 24 hours.

Other reports by GizPress

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