DAMASCUS, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Marathon negotiations are currently underway to reach a settlement with the rebels in the capital Damascus' Eastern Ghouta region amid Syrian military buildup at the outskirts of that area in case of faltering talks, the pro-government al-Watan newspaper reported on Sunday.
The settlement for the flaring situation in Eastern Ghouta is mediated by the Russians, said the paper, adding that the negotiations have been called for by the rebels who are under the Syrian military's pressure.
The negotiations are taking place amid a Syrian military buildup at the outskirts of Eastern Ghouta, as the army would launch a massive offensive in that sprawling area should the negotiations fail, according to al-Watan.
The situation in the Eastern Ghouta has flared up over the past two months, when the rebels, including the al-Qaida-linked ones, unleashed a massive offensive against a key Syrian military base in the Harasta city in Eastern Ghouta.
The rebels' mortar attacks have rained down the capital Damascus, while the Syrian military's shelling and airstrikes hit several areas in Eastern Ghouta, prompting the UN to send several appeals for reaching a one-month cessation of hostilities to allow for the entry of relief aid to affected civilians.
However, the situation has become calm over the past three days amid talks of military reinforcements being sent to the outskirts of Eastern Ghouta.
Syrians in the capital have for long been calling for the elimination of the rebels' mortar attacks, which, in many cases, paralyzed the lives of the people in the eastern Damascus neighborhoods.
But if the negotiations failed, the capital Damascus may witness some of the intense military showdowns in Syria's seven-year-long conflict.