East Ghouta Liberating Campaign Nearly Over
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, 11,000 terrorists and 19,000 family members were relocated from East Ghouta to Idlib province.
Negotiations are underway to shift remaining elements from the enclave. Operations begun by Syrian and allied forces on February 18 are nearing completion – liberating the last major stronghold held by US-supported terrorists since 2013.
Over 130,000 civilians were freed from captivity, held as human shields by US-supported terrorists. Perhaps a few thousand more at most remain to be freed.
The earlier sniper threat no longer exists. Russian and Syria forces performed heroically, near-completing their East Ghouta liberating mission far more quickly than months of effort required to free East Aleppo from US-supported terrorists by yearend 2016.
A statement by Russia’s Defense Ministry said the following:
“Based on the agreements reached between the heads of the Russian Reconciliation Center for the Conflicting Sides on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic and the leaders of the Faylaq al-Ra·man (terrorist) group, the withdrawal of the group’s militants from…Eastern Ghouta) has been carried out since March 24.”
“Another 5,290 militants and members of their families withdrew through the set up humanitarian corridor on March 28 and were taken to the Idlib province by 89 buses.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said “(t)he counterterrorism operation in East Ghouta is over. Only the city of Douma remains under the control of militants.”
Most enclave civilians are now free. Negotiations are underway to complete the peaceful transfer of enclave control entirely to government forces. It could be announced at any time.
Zakharova expressed concern about reports of US forces strengthening their control over occupied southeast Syrian territory – heavy weapons and equipment brought in.
“Continuing fabricated and groundless accusations against the Syrian government and Russia with regard to the indiscriminate use of force in the alleged killing of civilians, pure fiction and other lies that are allegedly imbued with concern for the fate of the civilian population, in fact create obstacles for reaching negotiated solutions and saving lives,” she added.
On Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said its military forces foiled attempted suicide bombings on buses carrying civilians from East Ghouta.
Seven suicide belts were seized on Monday, 32 on Tuesday, another nine on Wednesday.
Heavy fighting continues in Deir Ezzor in the country’s east bordering Iraq, Daara in southwestern Syria near the Jordanian border, in northern Syria by Turkish forces, and elsewhere.
According to AMN news, remaining terrorists in East Ghouta are preparing to leave. Ahead of departing they’re “burning ammo storage sites and headquarter infrastructures…thick smoke rising over” the enclave.
Once evacuation is completed, Syrian forces will assume full control of East Ghouta.
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