Fresh wave of civilians evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta
14 Mar 2018, 14:58 ( 9 days ago)
A new wave of civilians evacuated rebel-held areas in the Syrian capital Damascus' Eastern Ghouta countryside on Wednesday, state news agency SANA reported.
Tens of women and children reached the humanitarian corridor in the Wafidin area in northeastern Damascus, adjacent to the rebel-held district of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, said SANA.
Meanwhile, the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria placed the number of evacuees on Wednesday at 50 people.
A day earlier, a total of 146 civilians, 44 women, 24 men and 78 children, left rebel-held areas in Eastern Ghouta on Tuesday after long days of waiting to move to safe places.
The evacuation of civilians from Ghouta came a day after the Islam Army, the major rebel group in the Eastern Ghouta, announced a deal with Russia over the evacuation of the wounded from the area.
The rebel group said in a statement that an agreement has been reached with Russians to allow the UN to evacuate wounded people out of Eastern Ghouta for medical treatment.
The evacuation will take place in batches, it added.
The situation in Eastern Ghouta has flared up since late February following a wide-scale military operation by the Syrian army to dislodge al-Qaida-linked groups from the area.
On Sunday, the Syrian army split Eastern Ghouta into three parts, by tightening the siege on Douma in the north, the city of Harasta in the west and other towns and villages south of the region.
Eastern Ghouta, a 105-square-km agricultural region consisting of several towns and farmlands, constitutes the last threat to Damascus given its proximity to government-controlled neighbourhoods east of the capital and continuing mortar attacks on residential areas there.
Four major rebel groups are currently positioned inside Eastern Ghouta, namely the Islam Army, Failaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham, and the Levant Liberation Committee, known as the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
The UN humanitarian agencies have sounded the alarm about the worsening humanitarian situation for 400,000 people in Eastern Ghouta, where activists said around 1,000 have been killed since a military showdown between rebels and the government late February.