Humanitarian pause looms in Syria’s Ghouta amid rebels reluctance

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Damascus, Feb 27 (IANS) Two days after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution for a month-long humanitarian ceasefire in Syria, the Russians have called for a daily “humanitarian pause” to take place in the capital Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta region amid reluctance of the rebels.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered daily “humanitarian pause” in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta to allow evacuation of civilians from the zone held by militants, Xinhua cited Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.

He said that the humanitarian pause will be in force from 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) to 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) every day starting Tuesday.

The location of the humanitarian corridor is to be announced later. The corridor will be the Wafidin crossing between areas under the rebels’ control in Eastern Ghouta and government-controlled areas.

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The announcement comes just a couple of days after the United Nations Security Council adopted on Resolution 2401, which requires all parties in Syria to immediately cease clashes and provide a sustained humanitarian break for at least 30 days.

The UN resolution has excluded terror-designated groups such as the Islamic State (IS) and Nusra Front, as the battles against those groups have continued.

The Russian announcement on Monday didn’t seem to fully resonate with the Islam Army, the major rebel group in Eastern Ghouta, as the head of its political body, Mohammed Alloush, said that the Islam Army doesn’t reject the Russian proposal of ceasefire.

–IANS

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