East Ghouta Militants Hold Civilians Hostage,Plan ‘Chemical’ Provocations: Russia

Militants in East Ghouta, who continue to hold civilians hostage and to shell Damascus in breach of a humanitarian pause, may stage a provocative chemical attack, the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria has warned.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a briefing on Monday with the permanent members of Russia’s Security Council to discuss the situation in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta and the continuing provocations by militants in Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

Earlier in the day, Peskov said that the dire humanitarian situation in that area had been addressed by the Russian president in a phone call with his counterparts from France and Germany that was held on Sunday.

“The situation in Syria… causes extreme concern. The terrorists who are in East Ghouta, do not lay down their arms, they keep the local population hostage, and this is the reason for the very tense situation,” Peskov said.

“Despite the statements made by Jaysh Al-Islam about reconciliation, the mortar shelling of Damascus continues from the territory controlled by the formations of this group,” the Russian military spokesman said, noting that, over the past 24 hours, at least 31 shells were fired from East Ghouta into residential districts of Damascus. On top of the widespread damage caused by the attacks, at least 13 civilians and one Syrian soldier were injured.

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