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    Smoke rises from the rebel held besieged town of Hamouriyeh, eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, February 21, 2018

    Liberation of E Ghouta Will Deal a Heavy Blow to Terrorist Sponsors – Analyst

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    By eliminating the terrorist threat in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus will significantly strengthen its positions in the region, political analyst Fehim Tastekin told Sputnik, explaining why terrorists and their external sponsors attach such great importance to Eastern Ghouta and Aleppo in Syria.

    The liberation of Eastern Ghouta will help Damascus stabilize the situation in the country and pull the rug from under foreign forces seeking to conduct regime change in Syria, political analyst specializing in Middle East affairs Fehim Tastekin told Sputnik Turkey.

    "If we compare Syria's Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, we will see that Ghouta is the place where armed groups seeking to overthrow the Syrian government are located, and Aleppo is considered to be the economic heart and Syria's vital artery. The sponsors of the armed uprising in Syria attach great importance to these two regions," the political analyst highlighted.

    While Aleppo was liberated from terrorists largely due to Russo-Turkish cooperation, Eastern Ghouta still remains under the control of extremists, Tastekin pointed out, citing the fact that rockets launched by jihadists still terrorize the capital of the country, leaving many people dead and injured.

    "Today this threat continues to exist," the analyst noted. "But the moment it is eliminated, those players who finance, support, organize and manage armed clashes in Syria will be given quite a jolt. We are talking primarily about Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and, of course, the US. In this case, Damascus will be safe, and no one will be able to speculate on about regime change in the country."

    According to the Turkish analyst the liberation of Eastern Ghouta will facilitate the peaceful settlement of the conflict and help Syria restore its territorial integrity. He noted that having normalized the situation in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus will only have to deal with two hotbeds of instability — Idlib and the territory to the east of the Euphrates.

    Commenting on the fact that terrorist factions continue to hold civilians hostage in Eastern Ghouta, Tastekin underscored that to date, Russia and the Syrian Ministry for Reconciliation Affairs have voiced dozens of initiatives to evacuate citizens from the region; however, terrorists have turned a deaf ear to these proposals and continue to use them as a human shield.

    "There is a fierce internal struggle between [terrorist] factions in the region, there is a tragic situation in which some are lining their own pockets, while others are dying of starvation and missile strikes," the political analyst underscored. "And this situation is being used by external players as a subject of bargaining."

    On March 5, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized Western states for pressuring Damascus to halt its military operation against al-Nusra Front, a former al-Qaeda affiliate, designated as a terrorist organization by the UN Security Council.

    "Our Western partners, especially the United States, would like to take the heat off al-Nusra Front, which has now changed its name — but this does not mean it has changed its nature —  and save it, in case they decide to return to plan 'B,' which is to change the regime in Damascus," Lavrov told a press conference in Namibia.

    In Eastern Ghouta the al-Nusra militants have repeatedly violated the ceasefire established by the UN in accordance with Resolution 2401 adopted February 24, along with other terrorists. The extremist groups continue to shell Damascus neighborhoods preventing civilians from leaving the area.

    Later in the day the Russian Defense Ministry's center for Syrian reconciliation reported that al-Nusra terrorists had fired mortar shells at the humanitarian convoy that was on its way to the Syrian town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.

    Simultaneously, terrorists intensified their attacks against Damascus and the Muhayam-Al-Wafedin humanitarian corridor, "despite the daily 'humanitarian pauses' introduced at the initiative of the Russian side within the framework of the UN Security Council's Resolution 2401," the ministry added.

    The views and opinions expressed by Fehim Tastekin are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    humanitarian corridors, human shields, terrorists, ceasefire, The Syrian war, Al-Nusra Front, Sergei Lavrov, Euphrates River, Eastern Ghouta, Idlib, Syria, United States, Russia, Aleppo, Damascus
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