15:58 GMT +319 March 2018
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    A picture taken on February 28, 2018 shows flames erupting in the horizon following a reported rocket attack in al-Shaffuniyah, in the enclave of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus

    Militants in Eastern Ghouta Provoke Syrian Army to Retaliate - Russian MoD

    © AFP 2018/ Ammar SULEIMAN
    Middle East
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    HMEIMIM (Sputnik) - the Head of the Russian Center for Syrian reconciliation Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko held a daily briefing on Tuesday where he spoke about the situation in the suburb of Damascus, Eastern Ghouta.

    Militants Provoke Government Forces to Retaliate

    "The situation in Syria is normalizing, peace is gradually returning to the country. At the same time, despite the establishment of a 30-day ceasefire regime throughout the country, the joint coordination center registered violations of this regime in Aleppo, Latakia, Damascus and Daraa provinces in the past 24 hours," Yevtushenko said.

    READ MORE: Syrian Government Explains Eastern Ghouta Operation Goals

    Yevtushenko added that the situation in the Eastern Ghouta de-escalation zone remains the most tense in Syria.

    "The radical groups operating in Eastern Ghouta violate the ceasefire regime, constantly provoking government forces to take retaliatory steps," the general stressed.

    A one-month Syria ceasefire-stipulating UNSC resolution 2401 was adopted on February 24. The resolution does not apply to anti-terrorist operations. However, the truce violations continue to take place in the country. Damascus has been constantly shelled by local militants. Western countries are accusing the Syrian government and Russia of being responsible for the escalation of tensions in the area, however, Damascus says it opens fire in response to shelling from the Eastern Ghouta suburb.

    In February, Damascus launched large-scale operation codenamed Damascus Steel to liberate the Eastern Ghouta area from terrorists formerly known as the al-Nusra Front movement. Recently, the troops regained control over the town of Nashabiyah and a number of villages and farms in the region.

    On Humanitarian Corridor in Eastern Ghouta 

    A total of 148 civilians managed to leave Syria's Eastern Ghouta through a humanitarian corridor on Tuesday, all of them were sent to a temporary accommodation center, the head of the Russian Center for Syrian reconciliation said.

    "The representatives of the center are engaged in talks with the leaders of armed groups on the evacuation of civilians and militants and on the emergency evacuation of those sick and wounded from Eastern Ghouta. As a result of the reached agreement, 148 local residents, including 79 children, have managed to leave the enclave, they are now in a temporary accommodation center, where they receive the necessary assistance," Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko said at a daily briefing.

    The Russian Reconciliation Center has received 244 calls from the residents of Eastern Ghouta on its hotline since the start of the humanitarian pause, he added.

    READ MORE: Eastern Ghouta Humanitarian Corridor in Pictures

    On March 11, Russia's Defense Ministry reported that the first organized passage of 52 civilians took place out of Syria’s Eastern Ghouta through the humanitarian corridor with support of the Russian center for Reconciliation in Syria.

    According to the center, Russian and Syrian military were further negotiating with militants in Eastern Ghouta calling on them to let the civilians flee the area and leave it themselves with safety guaranteed.


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    provocations, militants, Russian center for Syrian reconciliation, Eastern Ghouta, Syria, Russia
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