Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a "humanitarian truce" in eastern Guta from tomorrow. A "humanitarian corridor" will be launched through which civilians can leave, said sources in his government. The cease-fire would be extended every day from 09:00 to 14:00 local time.
Guta is one of the few areas of the country still under the control of the rebels. On the ground the activists talk about massacre, and the images show corpses under the rubble and destroyed streets. The town has been besieged for months by government troops and an estimated 400,000 people are isolated. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted that the UN resolution can not include "terrorists" and should not be an obstacle to military actions by Damascus against jihadists.
Guta Oriental is one of the "security zones" agreed during the peace talks promoted by Russia, Iran and Turkey in Astana, guarantors of that process. Russia has supported with conditions the 30-day truce approved by the UN Security Council after being accused along with the Damascus regime of the death of hundreds of civilians in the bombings of the last two weeks.
On Sunday, a chlorine attack killed a child suffocating in Guta. It was reported by local doctors through a statement, along with which they transmitted to this newspaper several photographs of other gas victims being treated with oxygen cylinders. At least 18 people were affected by the attack, which is blamed on forces loyal to the government of President Bashar Asad, which the UN has already accused in the past of releasing chlorine gas on civilians.
"On February 25, some cases were treated in the medical facilities of Shaifuniya neighborhood, East Guta, at 6:30 pm, with symptoms of dyspnea, intense irritation of the mucous membranes, eye irritation and dizziness, these cases are consistent with a Exposure to toxic chlorine gas, "says the message from the opposition directorate in Guta. "At least 18 victims were treated with nebulized oxygen sessions, one child died and a four-month-old baby remains under ventilation." The same Guta Oriental district was already, in August 2013, the victim of an attack that left hundreds dead. Last January, Guta was again the target of two attacks with chlorine, according to opposition sources. The Executive of Bashar Assad and his ally Russia have never recognized these attacks, and have accused them of the opponents, either denouncing that the armed groups use their own weapons against civilians or suggesting that they are assemblies to provoke an international reaction. Chlorine is less lethal than sarin, but can cause death by suffocation. Moscow has once again rejected the facts claiming that they are "false news".
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recalled that Guta "is not the only source of tension for civilians and refugees" and alluded to the Al Rukban camp, next to the border with Jordan, an area that, he recalled, "is controlled by the United States. " That is why he also proposed declaring a humanitarian pause and opening corridors in that area so that "civilians can return to their homes." Moscow advocates the creation of a humanitarian commission under the auspices of the UN to assess what to do in Raqqa, where the epidemiological situation is "very serious", because there are still many bodies in the rubble of buildings.
Will russia able to help?
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