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Russian diplomat, Syrian ambassador concerned over militants’ provocations in Ghouta

The talks focused on recent developments in Syria and the region

MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Syria’s Ambassador in Moscow Riyad Haddad held talks on Saturday, discussing implementation of the United Nations ceasefire resolution and provocations staged by militants in Eastern Ghouta, says a statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.

"The talks focused on recent developments in Syria and the region, placing an emphasis on implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2401 by all sides," it reads. The diplomats "considered provocations by terrorists holed up in Eastern Ghouta, who carry on with shelling of peaceful districts in the Syrian capital and hinder evacuation of the sick and wounded as well as humanitarian deliveries."

The meeting was organized at the Syrian ambassador’s request.


Humanitarian pauses

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 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 Tuesday, February 27. In the village of Al-Wafideen, the Syrian authorities and the Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides created conditions for civilians evacuating along the only humanitarian corridor connecting Damascus and Eastern Ghouta.

The humanitarian pauses were derailed by militants in the first days, the Russian center said. Terrorists opened mortar fire on the safe exit from the area. In addition, residents are being forcibly held in Eastern Ghouta controlled by terrorists and are threatened with death for wishing to leave it.