EASTERN GHOUTA (Syria), March 8. /TASS/. Local residents of Eastern Ghouta are sending messages to the Center for the Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria, telling about their readiness to leave the area but militants’ leaders are taking all efforts to prevent their exit, Center Representative Major General Vladimir Zolotukhin said on Thursday.
‘For this purpose, the illegal armed formations have intensified repressive measures against the population and increased the intensity of shelling the checkpoint near the town of El-Vafidin. The fire is delivered also during humanitarian pauses, due to which no one has been able to leave the exclave towards the checkpoint at the current moment," the general said.
The situation in the area remains complex and tense, he added.
Over the past 24 hours, militants from Eastern Ghouta again shelled the residential quarters of Damascus and the nearby suburbs. They fired eight mortar shells, wounded nine civilians and destroyed buildings," Zolotukhin noted.
"The humanitarian corridor is open both for Eastern Ghouta civilians and for militants with their families. They are guaranteed security, the provision of transport means and protection along the entire route," the general added.
On instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin daily humanitarian pauses were introduced in Eastern Ghouta (a suburb of Damascus) from 09:00 to 14:00 local time starting from February 27. During the first three days, the humanitarian pauses were disrupted by militants.
As the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Sides reported, the terrorists numerously shelled the corridor intended for the exit of civilians from that area and are also keeping hostage the population in their controlled Eastern Ghouta, threatening to punish those wishing to leave.