Helped evacuate 13 civilians from Eastern Ghouta, says Russia

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MOSCOW: The Russian military has announced that it has aided in the evacuation of 13 civilians from Eastern Ghouta on Tuesday. The civilians were evacuated via the aid convoys that were returning after providing assistance in the besieged enclave on Monday.

“We managed to evacuate 13 civilians, including five children, with the returning convoy. We were also ready to evacuate about 1,000 sick and wounded people, but the rebels did not give us the opportunity,” said the Russian military.

Meanwhile, the rebels have vowed to continue fighting and have rejected Russian proposals for a withdrawal. The Syrian army and its Russian backers had offered to provide a safe passage to rebels out of Eastern Ghouta with their families and personal weapons.
“There are no negotiations about this subject. The factions of Ghouta and their fighters and its people are holding onto their land and will defend it,” Hamza Birqdar told Reuters in a text message.

In a separate development, that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Afrin and Eastern Ghouta, said the Kremlin.