Monday, March 5, 2018

Assad says battles in Eastern Ghouta to continue

 Eastern Ghouta
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that the offensive against the rebels in the capital Damascus' Eastern Ghouta countryside will continue in tandem with allowing civilians to leave toward government-controlled areas in Damascus, as the Syrian army has made significant progress, capturing 36 percent of the areas held by the terrorist/rebels.

Assad said most of the civilians in Eastern Ghouta want to leave the terrorist/rebels-held areas toward government areas, noting that there is no contradiction between establishing cease-fire in that area to allow the civilians to leave and the military operation against the "terrorists."

Assad made the remarks as a Russian-backed partial humanitarian pause has been taking place in Eastern Ghouta to allow the civilians to leave that area since last week, while military operations continue after the end of the daily five-hour-long pause.

No civilians have left and no humanitarian convoys entered that area, with the government accusing the rebels of preventing the civilians from leaving.

In his Sunday comments, Assad said the Russian-proposed humanitarian pause balances between giving a space to the humanitarian work and at the same time achieving the goal of striking the "terrorists."

"This is why we must continue in this operation in tandem with giving the civilians the opportunity to leave toward the state areas (government-controlled)," he said.

He hailed the progress made by the Syrian army in that sprawling rebel-held enclave in the eastern countryside of Damascus.

Meanwhile, the War Media, the media wing of the Syrian army, said in a statement late on Sunday that the Syrian forces have made important progress in Eastern Ghouta over the past few days, capturing large swathes of areas in the eastern part of Eastern Ghouta, reaching the central sector of that area.

It said the Syrian army forces have captured 38 square km, or 36 percent of Eastern Ghouta, which is estimated at 105 square km.

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