The Syrian army and its allies have managed to wrest control of more than 70 percent of the Eastern Ghouta district near Damascus, the Arab country’s army said.
According to a statement released by Syria’s General Command of the Army and Armed Forces, carried by the country’s official news agency SANA on Friday, Syrian army units, in cooperation with supporting and allied forces, regained control of over 70% of the areas controlled by terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta after carrying out swift and highly coordinated military operations.
“The army units are securing the exit of thousands of civilians from Eastern Ghouta who were taken by the terrorist organizations as human shields to carry out their criminal acts against them and the safe citizens in the neighborhoods of Damascus,” the statement read.
The Syrian army, backed by Russian air cover, is conducting an operation against the terrorists holed up in the Damascus suburb and, at the same time, evacuating civilians through humanitarian corridors.
Eastern Ghouta fell to militants in 2012, months after Syria plunged into crisis, and has since served as a launch pad for fatal mortar attacks against residents and infrastructure in the capital.
The army further called on civilians in Eastern Ghouta to leave the remaining militant-held districts through the safe corridors provided by the government forces.
Syria’s ambassador to the UN said over 40,000 civilians left Eastern Ghouta on Thursday via a new security corridor opened by the government in the city of Hamouria.
Speaking at the UN Security Council on Friday, Bashar Ja’afari said following the liberation of Hamouria on Thursday, the government was assisting the evacuation of civilians “who were taken as human shields by terrorist groups.”