Eastern Ghouta Militants to Be Deployed to Yemen Via Saudi Arabia – Reports
AFP 2018 / ZEIN AL-RIFAI / ALEPPO MEDIA CENTREMiddle East16:56 14.04.2018Get short URL
The Russian Defense Ministry has reported that a total of 170,152 people, including 63,117 militants and their relatives, had been evacuated from the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta during a large-scale humanitarian operation in the area.
500 Jaysh al-Islam* militants who were earlier evacuated from Eastern Ghouta, plan to go to Yemen, according to the pan-Arabic satellite television channel Al Mayadeen.
It cited its own source as saying that the terrorists first intend to illegally arrive in Saudi Arabia, from where they will try to enter Yemen.
On Friday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a news briefing that the Russian Reconciliation Center along with Syrian authorities are wrapping up a large-scale humanitarian operation in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta.
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“A total of 170,152 people were evacuated from the area, including 63,117 militants and members of their families,” Konashenkov said.
The relocation of Jaysh al-Islam militants from Eastern Ghouta to the northern Syrian province of Aleppo began late last week, in line with a Russia-brokered deal to release the militants’ prisoners.
The Syrian Army gained control of most of Eastern Ghouta on March 31, when it managed to lift the militants’ blockade of a major highway between Damascus and the rest of the country.
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The liberation came after Syrian troops launched their major offensive on Eastern Ghouta in February, in a bid to do away with the militants’ occupation of the area, which had been in place since 2012.
February 27 saw the beginning of daily humanitarian pauses in Eastern Ghouta, part of efforts by Russia and the Syrian Arab Republic to help civilians withdraw from the combat zone.
Yemen has been embroiled into a violent conflict between the government headed by ex-President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi Shia movement, also known as Ansar Allah, which is backed by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed in 2017.
Since March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi’s request.
*a terrorist group banned in Russia