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Russia doing its best to maintain humanitarian pauses in Eastern Ghouta – Kremlin

The Kremlin says terrorists’ provocations continue

MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Russia does its most for the sake of maintaining humanitarian pauses in Eastern Ghouta in line with the UN Security Council’s resolution, but terrorists’ provocations continue, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Wednesday.

"In order to enforce the adopted UN Security Council resolution Russia has been doing its utmost to maintain humanitarian pauses and unblock the situation in Eastern Ghouta. Continuing provocations by terrorists regrettably leave no chance for settling this situation properly," Peskov said. He pointed out that Moscow and Damascus "keep pressing for ensuring the necessary humanitarian conditions in that region."

Asked about the degree of Russia’s influence on the Syrian authorities, Peskov said bilateral relations were those of true partnership. He also pointed out that the Russian military personnel were the only foreign military force present in Syrian territory on the legitimate basis, because they had been invited by the Syrian leadership.

Humanitarian pauses

The UN Security Council last Saturday voted for a resolution demanding all parties to the conflict in Syria should terminate hostilities at least for 30 days for providing relief aid to the population. All fifteen members of the UN Security Council, including Russia, supported the resolution. The truce will not apply to military operations against the group Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) and other terrorist organizations.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on Monday said that on instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin a daily humanitarian pause was introduced in Eastern Ghouta (a suburb of Damascus) from 09:00 to 14:00 local time starting from February 27. In the village of Wafidin the Syrian authorities and Russia’s center for the reconciliation of conflicting parties have created conditions for the accommodation of civilians who may decide to use the sole humanitarian corridor connecting Damascus and Eastern Ghouta.

However, civilians have been unable to leave Eastern Ghouta so far due to mortar bombardments of the humanitarian corridor near Wafidin, the head of the control group for de-escalation zone N. 3 Eastern Ghouta, General Viktor Pankov said. The news agency SANA earlier said the humanitarian corridor had been bombarded by militants of the terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra outlawed in Russia.