February 27, 2018 / 11:29 AM / in 23 days

Kremlin says civilian evacuation from Syria's Ghouta depends on rebels

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Tuesday that the operation of an evacuation route that Russia helped open from Syria’s eastern Ghouta would depend on rebel forces whom it accused of holding civilians there hostage and of sabotaging the escape route.

Russia, which backs the Syrian government, ordered a daily truce from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (0700 GMT to 1200 GMT) and the creation of a “humanitarian corridor” to let civilians leave the area, the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that Russia regretted the situation unfolding in Ghouta and said Moscow would continue to work to try to help civilians leave the area despite what he called “provocations” from rebels.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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