New delays in the evacuations of Guta Oriental in Syria

New delays in the evacuations of Guta Oriental in Syria

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A civil organization accused Turkey of impeding the passage of buses with evacuees.

The evacuation of combatants and civilians of the Syrian city of Duma, the last rebel stronghold of the Guta Oriental region, in the outskirts of Damascus, is suffering this Thursday (05.04.2018) new delays due to differences between the parties.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indicated that negotiations are continuing between the Army of Islam, the faction that controls Duma, and the Syrian and Russian authorities to unblock the situation. He noted that, as in recent days, there were preparations for the departure of a new batch of militants and civilians of Duma, in application of the agreement reached between Russia and the Army of Islam, but this Islamist group has prevented the neighbors from the city get on buses to be evacuated.

On Sunday, the Army of Islam and Russia, an ally of the Government of Damascus, achieved a pact for the departure of combatants and civilians who wanted it from East Guta to northeastern areas of the northern province of Aleppo dominated by rebels supported by Turkey.

The Observatory explained that the process is being delayed due to the obstacles that Turkey is placing for the passage of buses with evacuees from the areas held by the Syrian authorities in Aleppo to those in the hands of the insurgents it supports.

Last opposition redoubt

Syrian official television reported that several buses entered Duma on Thursday through the Al Wafidin refugee camp corridor, which connects that town with the parts under the control of the Syrian army in Guta Oriental.

However, shortly after they had to withdraw due to “disputes” within the ranks of the Army of Islam, said the channel, which, however, assured that the evacuation agreement is still in force and that the vehicles are waiting to regain access to Duma.

This city is the last remaining stronghold in Guta Oriental, where the Syrian army and its allies began an operation in February. After military advances and agreements with the different Islamist factions in the region, the Syrian armed forces control 94% of the area.

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