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.
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.
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.
“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.
The mass exit came as Syrians marked seven years since the popular uprising that sparked their country’s vicious civil war — and hours after Syrian government forces blanketed the town with airstrikes and rocket fire.
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.
Syrian state media and an opposition monitoring group said government forces have laid siege on the rebel-held town of Harasta, cutting it off from the rest of the suburbs known as eastern Ghouta. 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.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the report, saying terrorists also opened sniper fire at the safe corridor, marked out by Moscow in Eastern Ghouta for evacuation of civilians. Read more.