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    Lights and smoke are seen during Syrian government bombardment on the rebel-controlled town of Arbin, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on late March 11, 2018

    Around 1,500 Militants to Be Withdrawn From Syria's Harasta - Source

    © AFP 2018 / Ammar SULEIMAN
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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - The Syrian authorities are preparing for the evacuation of around 1,500 militants and their families from the Syria's Harasta, located in the embattled Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, a local source told Sputnik on Thursday.

    Harasta is one of the three major terrorist strongholds in Eastern Ghouta which are currently surrounded by the Syrian government forces.

    "According to the agreements, over 6,000 people, including 1,500 militants, are expected to be evacuated today. Buses and ambulances have been prepared for the evacuation," the source said.

    Earlier on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a total of 86,123 people had been able to leave Eastern Ghouta with the help of the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation since the humanitarian pauses went into effect.

    The situation in Eastern Ghouta has been tense over the past weeks, resulting in ongoing shelling by local militants on Damascus and fire from the Syrian pro-government forces. Damascus says it opens fire in response to shelling from Eastern Ghouta, but Western countries are accusing the Syrian government and Russia of being responsible for the escalation of tensions in the area.

    READ MORE: Syrian Army Reportedly Surrounds Town of Douma in East Ghouta

    On February 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401 that urges all parties to the conflict in Syria to immediately stop hostilities and adhere to a humanitarian ceasefire for at least 30 days across the whole of Syria in order to ensure the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid, as well as the medical evacuation of injured people. Despite the adopted document, clashes in the area have continued.

    READ MORE: Syrian Army Gives Group of Eastern Ghouta Militants Until 1 PM GMT to Pull Out

    Soon after the UN adoption of the resolution, Russia announced a daily five-hour humanitarian break in the fighting to prevent more casualties among the population and allow civilians leave Eastern Ghouta.

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    Tags:
    Syrian Armed Forces, Syrian government, East Ghouta, Damascus, Syria
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