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Three militant chemical attacks foiled in Syria over past week, Russian defense chief says

More than 65% of Eastern Ghouta’s territory has been liberated, Russia's defense chief stressed

MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry continues to push ahead with its vigorous efforts to stabilize the situation in Syria, Russian Defense Minister, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, said during a conference call on Tuesday.

"A unique and unprecedented in its scale humanitarian operation overseen by the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties is underway in Eastern Ghouta. In all, 79,655 people have been evacuated from there over the past five days via the humanitarian corridors. More than 65% of Eastern Ghouta’s territory has been liberated," he said.

According to Shoigu, "Russian officers’ primary efforts are aimed at ensuring the safety of civilians’ exit from the blocked areas and organizing the delivery of humanitarian aid from Russia to evacuated Syrians."

US actions

"We continue to keep a close eye on the actions by the US and the coalition member-countries and note the activity of their armed forces around Syria," Shoigu said.

"The possibility of the use of chemical agents by militants persists with a view to accusing Syrian troops of using chemical weapons in the future," he noted. "Three such attempts have been foiled over the past week."

"We expect that under the current circumstances our Western partners will be guided by common sense when making decisions, stop toying with terrorists and join Russia’s peace initiatives in Syria," the minister said.

"We will continue doing our utmost to normalize the situation in this region," he noted.

"We are calling on the parties concerned to keep up a constructive dialogue and take joint steps aimed at stopping violence," Shoigu said.