Rebels in Syria's eastern Ghouta discussing ceasefire with UN

Syrian government troops riding a tank through the town of Jisreen in Ghouta, on March 17, 2018
Syrian government troops riding a tank through the town of Jisreen in Ghouta, on March 17, 2018PHOTO: AFP

BEIRUT (REUTERS) - The main rebel group in the southern pocket of Syria's opposition-held eastern Ghouta told Reuters on Sunday (March 18) it was negotiating with a United Nations delegation about a ceasefire, aid and the evacuation of urgent medical cases.

"We are engaged in arranging serious negotiations to guarantee the safety and protection of civilians," said Wael Alwan, the Istanbul-based spokesman for Failaq al-Rahman, in a voice recording. "The most important points under negotiation are a ceasefire, ensuring aid for civilians and the exit of medical cases and injured people needing treatment outside Ghouta." Alwan said the subject of "exit and evacuation" was "not on the table".