Assad gives a video tour of war-torn Ghouta

The United Nations has estimated 400,000 people were under siege in eastern Ghouta, the last large rebel bastion near the capital Damascus, with little access to food or medicine.

By REUTERS,
March 19, 2018 12:52
3 minute read.

In the Front Seat With Assad as He Tours Eastern Ghouta, March 19, 2018 (Reuters)

In the Front Seat With Assad as He Tours Eastern Ghouta, March 19, 2018 (Reuters)

 
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Syrian President Bashar Assad took the wheel of his car to drive into the war-torn eastern Ghouta to inspect his troops on Sunday. The fact that all of this was on camera for an interview marked a rare departure from his usual media appearances.

A presidential camera recorded him inside the automobile as Assad explained the purpose of this visit.
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"We will go to Ghouta to see the situation there, to see the armed forces that are fighting, the liberated areas. We will go to Ghouta from the east, from Nashabieh to Jesrin."

Syrian soldiers appear close to defeating the last major opposition foothold near Damascus in a major government offensive.

Ghouta is a Syrian city near Damascus in which thousands of Syrian civilians fled from a rebel pocket in the eastern side of the city on Thursday.

According to Reuters, one man carried a baby in a suitcase, the child's head and arms peaking out through the zipper. Others reached government positions in the nearby town of Beit Sawa on wheelchairs.


The exodus could prove a key moment in eastern Ghouta, one of the seven-year-old war's biggest battles, in which the fate of civilians trapped in the siege zone has been central.

The United Nations has estimated 400,000 people had been under siege in eastern Ghouta, the last large rebel bastion near the capital Damascus, with little access to food or medicine.

Assad continues with his tour of the city: "This road [the airport road] opened the vein of life and made oxygen run in the country."

"All people are returning to the government as you see. This ensures what we were always saying, that people want the state and that the government is normally the legitimate father and mother of all people and it is the legitimate side of any military or political process."

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