21 March 2018
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  • » 12/27/2017, 11.24


    Goutha,'medical evacuation' operations are under way. Rebels no to Russian peace congress

    Some patients in "critical" conditions were transferred to the capital, including 130 children in need of urgent care. The area has been under siege by the Syrian army for years. Moscow proposes a "national peace dialogue" in Sochi for the end of January. Offer rejected by dozens of anti-Assad groups. 

    Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The "medical evacuation" has begun of eastern Ghouta, a suburb in east Damascus controlled by the rebels and besieged by the Syrian regular army for some time. In a note the Red Cross operators confirm the shift towards the capital of patients in "critical" conditions; including seven children with cancer.

    In his Christmas message this year, Pope Francis recalled remember, among others, just the "face of children" that suffer from the lack of peace and justice in the world, who work or are forced to migrate. Among these he addressed a particular thought for "beloved Syria", so that he could "finally find respect for the dignity of every person".

    The area has been under a government siege for over four years and, within it, there are at least 130 minors in need of urgent medical treatment. UN sources report that about 12% of the child population of eastern Goutha - out of a total of 400 thousand people - suffers from severe malnutrition.

    At the beginning of December the Red Cross operators had denounced that life was becoming "impossible" in the besieged area and that the situation had reached the "critical point". For weeks, UN officials have been dealing with the government of Damascus - which has so far not commented on the latest developments - a medical evacuation to treat the most serious cases.

    The area is among those of "de-escalation" of the conflict, based on the agreements reached in the talks of Astana, sponsored by Russia, Iran (allies of Damascus) and Turkey (close to the anti-Assad rebels). Meanwhile, in the capital of Kazakhstan international diplomacy is moving in an attempt to put an end to more than six years of bloody conflict, which has caused hundreds of thousands of victims and millions of refugees.

    Last week, the promoters of the negotiations proposed to hold "a national dialogue conference" in Sochi, Russia. However, the offer - strongly supported by Moscow - was rejected by dozens of rebel groups who "completely rejected Russia's attempt to circumvent the [UN-mediated] peace process". The leaders of these groups opposed a sharp refusal of the invitation to participate in the meetings scheduled on January 29 and 30 in the Russian seaside resort on the Black Sea.

    On December 22 last Russia, Iran and Turkey had publicized the summit of Sochi in late January, considered a decisive step in the direction of a "political regulation" between the Syrian government and the rebel front. A move that follows the failure of the last peace negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland, under the auspices of the UN and the eighth round of meetings in Astana last week.

    However, the announcement made yesterday by dozens of groups belonging to the Syrian opposition again threatens to frustrate the diplomatic effort. "We totally reject - says a common note signed by the 40 groups - Russia's attempt to circumvent the Geneva process". Among those who signed the document are the Islamic extremist movement Ahrar al-Cham and other groups armed by Washington in the past, like the brigades of al-Motassem.

    In spite of the failures, Russian President Vladimir Putin is convinced that the project is the "key" to the peace process mediated in Geneva and Astana. Meanwhile, the operation of withdrawing Moscow troops from Syrian territory began, following the announcement made by the Kremlin leader in recent weeks. But this does not mean a disengagement of Moscow on the Syrian chessboard, so much so that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Choïgou confirmed yesterday the plan to establish a permanent (and strengthened) military presence in the air bases of Tartus and Hmeimim.

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    See also

    26/02/2018 09:14:00 SYRIA
    Syria’s fragile UN truce at risk amid new government raids in east Ghouta

    The latest assault began a day after the declaration of the 30-day ceasefire on humanitarian grounds. Iranian official: the truce does not concern terrorist groups, operations in the area will continue. Unconfirmed sources speak of new chemical attacks. Yesterday at the Angelus the appeal of Pope Francis for the end of the "inhuman violence" in progress.  

    22/02/2018 10:52:00 UN - SYRIA
    UN told Ghouta east is 'hell on earth'. Diplomats scramble to secure a ceasefire

    The Security Council ready to vote for a draft resolution. The goal is to reach a 30-day ceasefire and promote the delivery of aid and medicines. Uncertainty of Russian support. UN Secretary-General: The "humanitarian tragedy" demands intervention.

    27/02/2018 10:13:00 SYRIA - RUSSIA
    Moscow: a 'humanitarian pause' in Ghouta offensive

    Bombings on the rebel enclave have lessened in intensity in the last few hours. The opening of "humanitarian corridors" is planned to allow civilians to escape. In a week over 500 victims, thousands injured. The UN calls for an end to all hostilities. But fighting continues in Afrin, where the Turkish anti-Kurdish offensive is underway.

    06/03/2018 12:00:00 SYRIA
    Astana, new round of talks to stop the escalation of fighting in Syria

    Next March 16, the Foreign Ministers of Ankara, Teheran and Moscow will meet. Parties involved in the conflict will not attend. The UN special envoy will participate as an observer. The goal is to find the "necessary measures" to guarantee a truce in the conflict. USA: the Turkish offensive on Afrin has weakened the fight against ISIS. 

    16/03/2018 10:14:00 SYRIA - KAZAKHSTAN
    Astana, diplomacy at work for a ceasefire. Evacuation of Ghouta east continues

    Foreign ministers from Russia, Iran and Turkey meet in the capital of Kazakhstan. A preparatory meeting ahead of the presidents’ summit on April 4 in Istanbul. Yesterday 20 thousand people left the rebel enclave on the outskirts of Damascus, besieged by the government army. At least 25 trucks loaded with aid for Douma.

    Editor's choices

    Syrian Trappist nuns say Western powers and factional media fuel war propaganda

    In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.

    Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.


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