Lavrov: counter-terrorism operation in Eastern Ghouta approaches to an end

Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that counter-terrorism operation in Eastern Ghouta area in Damascus Countryside approaches to its end given that the area is nearly fully-liberated from terrorists.

Lavrov made his remarks during a press conference with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Moscow.

He added that a large number of terrorists have been evacuated from Eastern Ghouta, noting that the Syrian army regained control over 90% of the area and efforts are underway to restore normal living conditions to those liberated swaths.

For his part, De Mistura said time has come for the political process in Syria to become tangible through linking Astana and Sochi talks to the political process in Geneva within the framework of the UN Security Council Resolution No. 2254.

He indicated that the UN is ready to dispatch a joint UN-ICRC assessment mission to inspect the situation in Raqqa and know the type of assistance it has to provide, underlining the need to send similar missions to other areas such as Afrin and al-Rukban Camp.

In a similar context, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed with de Mistura means of implementing the outcomes of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi.

Shoigu noted that attempts of suicide bombings on buses carrying civilians in Eastern Ghouta have been foiled.

“It’s easy enough to imagine what would have happened if they had blown themselves up inside the busses full of children and women,” Shoigu said.

He underlined that great efforts have been exerted to eliminate the hotbeds of tension from different Syrian areas, particularly the Eastern Ghouta, noting that more than 130 thousand civilians and over 11,000 militants with 19,000 members of their families have been already evacuated from Ghouta.

Shoigu noted that the next few days will witness the return of displaced families to their houses in the Eastern Ghouta in order to restore normal life and start reconstruction works.

He added that the tripartite summit of Iran, Russia and Turkey, due to be held in Ankara, will discuss  the implementation of what has been agreed on during Sochi and Astana talks.




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