Since a Russian-backed ‘pause’ went into effect – there are reports of shelling along a corridor in east Ghouta.
It was supposed to be a way out for trapped civilians.
CGTN’s Alaa Ebrahim reports.
Russia was looking to establish safe exit corridors, and halt the fighting for a five-hour window every day, to give trapped civilians a safe passage out of the war zone.
But as the day ended, no civilians had left.
The Syrian army, which is manning the crossing point, told CGTN the rebels fired several mortars down on civilians who were trying to leave.
The government has often accused the rebels of using civilians as human shields.
“We believe that creating favorable conditions for the people of eastern Ghouta to leave for safe places is the way to implement international legitimacy and allow the Syrian forces to get rid of these terrorist elements that have taken civilians hostages for many years,” Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Faisal Mekdad said.
The rebels, on the other hand, had a different plan.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Jaish Al-Islam — one of the three main factions inside the embattled enclave — told CGTN they would agree to an arrangement in which militants from Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria would be evacuated in exchange for a 15-day ceasefire.
The report has not been released to the public, but the UN Security Council may be briefed on its content as early as this week.
The same source said that forcing civilians out of their homes was never part of the United Nations Security Council’s resolution. Rather, it called for the evacuation of the sick and wounded only, as well as allowing humanitarian aid in, and accused the government of not abiding by UNSC resolution 2401.
Buses carrying civilians out of Eastern Ghouta were supposed to travel down a main road to bring families to safety – but that never happened.
Syrian officials say the civilians will come out at some point, and when they do, the Syrian military says retaking Ghouta will only take a matter of days.