The OPCW declared that the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpile had been removed in 2014, only to confirm later that sarin was used in a 2017 attack in the northern town of Khan Sheikhun.
“With every victory achieved on the field, the voices of some Western states are raised and actions are intensified in an attempt by them to change the course of events,” Syrian state TV quoted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as saying.
US President Donald Trump criticised Mr Putin by name on Twitter, as he castigated Russia and Iran for backing Bashar al-Assad, who he called an “animal.”
Eastern Ghouta, an early centre of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, was until last month the biggest and most populous remaining rebel stronghold near the capital.
“More precisely, Jaysh al-Islam is a creature of Douma, and I don’t know how it would survive outside it,” especially in Idlib, where there is rebel rivalry, said Faysal Itani, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Atlantic Council.
Five weeks since the Syrian regime launched an all-out assault on Ghouta, it holds more than 90 percent of the onetime opposition stronghold on the edge of Damascus.
Harasta appeared in ruins in a broadcast from al-Ikhbariya, and apartment blocks in the town looked gutted. Monther Fares, a spokesman for the rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham, confirmed that his group’s fighters were preparing to depart.
“We are engaged in arranging serious negotiations to guarantee the safety and protection of civilians,” said Wael Alwan, the Istanbul-based spokesman for Failaq al-Rahman, in a voice recording.
Afrin city lies in the heart of a Kurdish-majority enclave in northern Syria which neighbouring Turkey sees as a threat and against which it launched a deadly ground and air offensive on January 20. READ MORE.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces had seized around a quarter of eastern Ghouta in a ground assault that got underway on Feb. 27, building on a ferocious air and artillery bombardment that has killed hundreds. Read more.