Russian troops 'man checkpoints' in Syria's flash-point Eastern Ghouta

Russian troops 'man checkpoints' in Syria's flash-point Eastern Ghouta
Russian troops have started to man checkpoints in the Damascus suburbs, as part of the latest 'de-escalation' zone in Syria.
2 min read
26 July, 2017
Russian military police have previously been deployed to al-Waer in Homs [AFP]
Russian troops are now manning checkpoints in Syria's flashpoint region on Eastern Ghouta, after a "de-escalation area" was established covering the Damascus suburb.

Russian and Syrian regime officers set up road blocks on the outskirts of Damascus, searching vehicles on the edge of Eastern Ghouta, according to Moscow's Tass state news agency.

Two checkpoints and four monitoring posts have been established in Eastern Ghouta as part of the local ceasefire known as a "de-escalation" zone.

These were agreed between regime backers Russia and Iran, and opposition supporter Turkey.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Russian troops were deployed to the edge of Eastern Ghouta, but that no checkpoints have been set up.

Despite the agreement, Eastern Ghouta has been rocked by fighting between rival rebel factions with regime airstrikes targeting an area controlled by rebel group al-Rahman Corps, according to the monitor.

Syrian opposition media reported that at least ten civilians were killed in the airstrikes, including five children.

Al-Rahman Corp's Ghouta rebel rival Jaish al-Islam meanwhile received a shipment of medical supplies, following a months-long regime siege on the suburb.

"The trucks were unloaded on the lines of contact between the regime forces and Jaish al-Islam," the monitor reported.

The Russian military will be responsible for monitoring ceasefires in several areas of Syria, according to Moscow.

Russian military police have also entered Daraa province in southern Syria as part of another de-escalation deal.

Moscow has been one of the Syrian regime's main military backers, providing air support since September 2015 to help the military capture Aleppo and other areas.

The airstrikes have resulted in thousands of civilians killed, with countless homes, schools and hospitals also destroyed.

Russian military police have been deployed to other areas to monitor controversial deals between Damascus and rebels.

The agreements have seen thousands of civilians leave their homes after the Syrian regime took over former opposition neighbourhoods.