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Reconciliation Center: 95,000 people leave Ghouta since declaration of humanitarian pauses

About 6,500 people have returned to their homes in liberated areas

MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. Nearly 95,000 people have left Eastern Ghouta through humanitarian corridors since the declaration of humanitarian pauses, head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria Major General Yuri Yevtushenko said on Thursday.

"Civilians continue to leave Eastern Ghouta through the humanitarian corridors," he said. "Since the declaration of humanitarian pauses, a total of 94,831 people have got out of Eastern Ghouta with the assistance of the Russian Center for Reconciliation," Yevtushenko added.

According to him, during the day, 7,128 people left the area through the humanitarian corridor set up in the Al-Wafideen area. "Since February 28, as many as 15,131 people have passed through this corridor," he noted.

On February 24, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2401, calling for a cessation of hostilities in Syria. Following that, daily five-hour humanitarian pauses were declared in Eastern Ghouta starting from February 27 in order to provide civilians and unarmed militants with an opportunity to leave the area. Militants disrupted humanitarian pauses in the first several days but later the situation normalized.

About 6,500 returned to their homes

Yevtushenko added that about 6,500 people have returned to their homes in liberated areas.

"The situation in Eastern Ghouta stabilizes. Civilians return to the settlements liberated from militants. Among them are those who left humanitarian corridors three or four days ago. Thus, 6,500 people have returned to their homes in the settlements of Kafr-Batna and Saqba, receiving necessary humanitarian assistance from officers of the Russian reconciliation center," Yevtushenko said.

He said the situation in the country is normalizing, but ceasefire violation incidents are registered in a number of regions. "The joint Russian-Iranian-Turkish Coordination Center has reported violations in the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Homs, Damascus and Daraa in the past 24 hours," the general said.

He also said militants continue shelling residential neighborhoods of Damascus and its suburbs. "Capital’s Abbasin neighborhood has come under mortar fire in the past day. Militants fired three mines. Destruction is reported, but there were no casualties among the population".

Humanitarian assistance

According to Yevtushenko, creating conditions for an improvement of the humanitarian situation and assistance to the Syrian people is among the priority tasks in the activity of the reconciliation center.

"The reconciliation center has ensured a safe and unimpeded travel of a joint trans-border humanitarian convoy of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to the settlement of al-Jize in Daraa province. Local residents have received 130 tonnes of food, household appliances and medicines," he added.

Residents of the settlement of Abu-Abde in Aleppo province have received one tonne of fresh bread, and in another development drinking water was delivered to Hisham settlement in Deir ez-Zor province. Russian military medics have provided medical assistance to 112 Syrian residents, including 53 children, during the day, the general added.

He said that 14 people have returned to their homes in Hama province, 63 people in Homs province and 662 people in Deir ez-Zor province.

The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill the tasks assigned to them after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. They regularly travel around the country's liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning back to their homes and evacuation of civilians from de-escalation zones.

They are also tasked with lending humanitarian assistance to the Syrian population, coordinating work to restore the infrastructure in war-torn regions, assisting in the return of refugees and in the integration of militants who have laid down arms into the peaceful life, as well as monitoring the ceasefire.