Large terrorist outfit in Syria’s Ghouta in talks with UN about ceasefire: Statement
One of the main militant groups active in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta says it is negotiating with the United Nations about a ceasefire, as the government troops constantly shrink the militant-held areas of the flashpoint region.
“We are engaged in arranging serious negotiations … The most important points under negotiation are a ceasefire, ensuring aid for civilians and the exit of medical cases and injured people needing treatment outside Ghouta,” Reuters quoted Wael Alwan, the Istanbul-based spokesman for Failaq al-Rahman militant outfit, as saying in a voice recording on Sunday.
The militant group, which bears ties with the so-called Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army militant group, added that the subject of “exit and evacuation” was “not on the table.”
The development came on the same day that Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that thousands of civilians had managed to leave Eastern Ghouta as militants have been raining rockets on the capital Damascus from the suburb area, while using civilians there as human shields, preventing their exit through safe passages set up by Russia and blocking their access to humanitarian aid.
The evacuees were reportedly provided with basic commodities upon arrival at Syrian army posts before being transported to temporary accommodation centers.
During the past few weeks, Syria and Russia have cornered foreign-backed militants in the enclave as part of their campaign to liberate civilians holed up there and end militant attacks from the suburb on the capital.
During their advances in the area, Syrian forces have uncovered workshops used to make chemical weapons. The Syrian military has also intercepted several arms and ammunition cargoes heading to Eastern Ghouta, a besieged area on the outskirts of Damascus which is home to some 400,000 people.
The Syrian army announced recently that it had captured 70 percent of Eastern Ghouta, after splitting the area into sections to facilitate the battle against various militant groups there, particularly the so-called Jaish al-Islam outfit and the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.