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Humanitarian pauses to show Ghouta militants' willingness to stick to truce — Lavrov

February 27, 19:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Lavrov also recalled that a year ago many countries strongly criticized the joint operation by Russia and the Syrian government to retake Eastern Aleppo

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© EPA-EFE/MOHAMMED BADRA

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. Humanitarian pauses will make it possible to see if the groups in Eastern Ghouta (a suburb of Damascus) that distance themselves from the terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia) sincerely wish truce, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

He remarked that the situation in Syria was very far from comprehensive truce.

"Russia is perfectly aware of how complicated the humanitarian situation in Ghouta is. In cooperation with the Syrian government we have unilaterally declared daily five-hour humanitarian pauses starting from today," Lavrov told a joint news conference with his French counterpart Jean Yeves Le Drian.

"Within the framework of these pauses special humanitarian corridors have been created for delivering humanitarian aid and for medical evacuation and the exit of all civilians who wish to leave in full conformity with the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2401," Lavrov said. "Also, we will see in practice to what extent the readiness to comply with Resolution 2401, pronounced by illegal armed groups that allegedly distance themselves from Jabhat al-Nusra in Eastern Ghouta, agrees with their real intentions."

Lavrov also recalled that a year ago many countries strongly criticized the joint operation by Russia and the Syrian government to retake Eastern Aleppo.

"In that case, too, large-scale evacuation of civilians was carried out before doing away with the terrorists who refused to leave Eastern Aleppo," Lavrov said. "Many then were saying that it was a very risky operation, because evacuated civilians might never be able to return to their homes, that it would be tantamount to ethnic cleansing, and so on."

"Yesterday, the governor of Aleppo declared that 200,000 civilians who had left the city were back home already, that one third of the facilities affected by hostilities had been repaired and that this process was continuing," Lavrov said.

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