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Talks with militants underway over their exit from Eastern Ghouta - center

March 10, 19:51 UTC+3 AL-WAFIDEEN

On Friday, 13 militants left Eastern Ghouta along the humanitarian corridor leading to the populated locality of Al-Wafideen

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© Ghouta Media Center via AP

AL-WAFIDEEN /Syria/, March 10. /TASS/. The Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides in Syria is engaged in talks with leaders of illegal armed groups about their exit from Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, the center’s spokesman, Maj Gen Vladimir Zolotukhin told reporters on Saturday.

On Friday, 13 militants left Eastern Ghouta along the humanitarian corridor leading to the populated locality of Al-Wafideen.

"Intense talks are underway between representatives of the center for reconciliation of warring sides and leaders of illegal armed units of the Syrian opposition, with the aim to reach an agreement over the pullout of a second group of militants from the Eastern Ghouta de-escalation zone," Zolotukhin said.

"Apart from that, residential areas of Damascus and nearby suburbs are being continuously shelled since militants from Eastern Ghouta have fired twelve mortars of 120mm there in the past 24 hours," the general added. "Widespread damage is reported. One person died and nine more civilians were wounded."

On Saturday, from 09.00 until 14.00 local time, the twelfth humanitarian pause was in force. The ceasefires were ordered to enable evacuation of civilians from Eastern Ghouta as well as militants and their families, who are guaranteed security and provided with transport and protection along the route.

"Besides, an additional checkpoint is operating near the populated locality of Jisrein in the south of Eastern Ghouta. There is a first-aid station and field kitchen. Vehicles are on standby to transport civilians to safe areas."

The center’s hotline keeps receiving messages and calls about the dire humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta.

"In the town of Kafr Batna, armed clashes erupted between local residents who are supporters to militants and those loyal to Syria’s legitimate government," Zolotukhin said.

On February 24, the UN Security Council in a unanimous vote approved the resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire across Syria to allow aid access to the population. The Security Council’s 15 members, including Russia, voted for the document.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered daily humanitarian pauses to be introduced in Eastern Ghouta from 09:00 to 14:00 local time from February 27. During the first days, militants derailed the humanitarian pauses. Terrorists numerously shelled the corridor meant for the exit of civilians from that area and were also keeping hostage the population in their controlled Eastern Ghouta, threatening to punish those wishing to leave.

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