Geneva : Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that rebels in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta were responsible for ensuring that a “humanitarian pause” in the area brings relief for devastated civilians.

“Russia, together with the Syrian government, has already announced the establishment of humanitarian corridors in Eastern Ghouta,” Lavrov told the UN Human Rights Council.

The minister was referring to a checkpoint at the edge of the rebel-held enclave, through which would-be evacuees were told to exit the area. “Now, it is the turn for the militants and their sponsors to act, militants entrenched there who still continue shelling Damascus, blocking aid deliveries and the evacuation of those wishing to leave,” he added, reports AFP.

Tuesday was the first day of the five-hour daily “pause” in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta that was ordered by President Vladimir Putin, the Syrian regime’s main backer.

ut the truce was marred by violence, with Moscow and Damascus accusing armed groups of shelling the purported humanitarian corridors and keeping the population hostage. Speaking to journalists, Lavrov charged that Washington and its allies in Syria had “willingly or unwillingly … sustainably spared” the “terrorists” on the ground. “We raised this issue with Washington many times and there is no credible answer,” he said.

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