On February 21, the Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides in Syria said in an official statement that the negotiations to find a peace solution to the Eastern Ghouta region crisis had been derailed because opposition forces there had refused to lay down arms, according to the Russian state-run news agency TASS.
“The Russian reconciliation center’s calls on illegal armed groups in Eastern Ghouta to stop fighting, lay down arms and settle their status yielded no result,” TASS quoted the statement.
The center for reconciliation accused opposition forces of hindering the efforts to evacuate the civilians from the pocket that’s “facing a critical humanitarian, social and economic situation.”
“The groups of illegal armed formations operating in Eastern Ghouta hamper civilians’ evacuation from controlled areas through a checkpoint near Muheim al-Wafideen,” the statement said.
Several Syrian pro-government and opposition activist revealed on February 20 that a delegation of the Egyptian Army had arrived to the Syrian capital Damascus to sponsor “last chance” negotiations between the Damascus government and opposition forces in the Eastern Ghouta pocket.
However, the recent statement of the Russian center for reconciliation hints that this “last chance” may have alreday failed. This could force the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies to launch their ground operation in Eastern Ghouta soon.