30000 civilians evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta: Report Agencies

Rodiano Bonacci
Marzo 18, 2018

Photos released by Syria's official news agency showed President Assad surrounded by a crowd of men in military clothing, some perched on top of tanks.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday visited army positions in Syria's eastern Ghouta, the president's Telegram account said.

In a month-long assault, pro-Syrian government forces have marched into much of eastern Ghouta, the last major insurgent bastion around Damascus.

OCHA said conditions for those remaining in eastern Ghouta are "dire".

The photographs were taken in a street lined with damaged building fronts with a couple of parked tanks.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad talks to government forces while visiting their positions in Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus on March 18, 2018.

Also on Sunday, state TV said the Syrian army had given a group of rebels in another pocket, the smaller Harasta area, an ultimatum to withdraw.

However, a general evacuation of civilians and rebels was not on the table, he said.

Syrian army soldiers have started an operation to comb Saqba town, located 7 kilometers east of central Damascus, of hidden explosive devices planted by Takfiri militants in the area.

The Syrian army said it had captured 70 per cent of Eastern Ghouta, after splitting the area into sections to facilitate the battle against various rebel groups there.

Earlier on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that 50,000 civilians have evacuated Eastern Ghouta over the past 72 hours.

But the Syrian government and its allies are continuing to attack three rebel-held pockets of the enclave, which was, until recently, home to almost 400,000 people.

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