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    Russian military police officers stand by a troop carrier at a newly-opened crossing in the southern tip of the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta enclave linking the town of Jisreen to the government-controlled suburbs of the capital Damascus on March 8, 2018

    Russian Military Talking on Withdrawing 2nd Group of Militants From E Ghouta

    © AFP 2019 / LOUAI BESHARA
    Middle East
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    MUHAYAM AL-WAFIDIN (Syria) (Sputnik) – The Russian Center for Syrian reconciliation is holding talks with the leaders of the illegal armed units on the withdrawal of the second group of militants from the Damascus' suburb of Eastern Ghouta, the center's spokesman, Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin, said.

    "The intensive negotiations between the representatives of the Center for Syrian reconciliation and the leaders of the illegal armed units of the Syrian opposition are underway in order to reach the agreement on the withdrawal of the second group of militants from the Eastern Ghouta de-escalation zone," Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin said.

    The Russian official pointed out that the situation remained tense.

    "The shelling of Damascus residential areas and its closest suburbs is underway. Militants from Eastern Ghouta fired 12 mortar shells of the 120-mm caliber within the last 24 hours. There are massive damages, one person was killed and nine civilians were injured," Zolotukhin stated.

    On Friday, 13 militants left Eastern Ghouta in accordance with the agreement reached owing to the reconciliation center.

    READ MORE: Shelling Near Syria's Eastern Ghouta Putting Aid Convoy at Risk — UN Official

    Eastern Ghouta was taken by militants in 2012. According to Syrian Army estimates, there are 10,000-12,000 militants in the region. Despite the recent UN resolution, the combat has not ended, even when the humanitarian pause was in place, the Russian Defense Ministry's center for Syrian reconciliation said. As militants constantly target all exits from the enclave, civilians have been unable to leave the area.


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    negotiations, withdrawal, military, Russian center for Syrian reconciliation, Eastern Ghouta, Syria
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