February 27, 2018 / 9:38 AM / 8 months ago

Rebels in Syria's eastern ghouta deny blocking civilians from leaving

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Rebel factions in Syria’s eastern Ghouta denied on Tuesday preventing civilians from leaving the enclave near Damascus, or shelling an evacuation route that Russia had ordered.

“We have not prevented anyone and civilians make their own decisions,” said Yasser Delwan, head of the local political office of the Jaish al-Islam faction.

Moscow, the Syrian government’s key ally, has ordered the opening of a “humanitarian corridor” out of the insurgent enclave, where an offensive by Damascus and its allies has killed hundreds in the past week.

Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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